The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks

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Science fact is surely stranger and more hallucinatory in the visions it provides than science fiction.
-Blog Critics


In The Mind’s Eye, Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities: the power of speech, the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight. For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically new way of being in the world.

There is Lilian, a concert pianist who becomes unable to read music and is eventually unable even to recognize everyday objects, and Sue, a neurobiologist who has never seen in three dimensions, until she suddenly acquires stereoscopic vision in her fifties.

There is Pat, who reinvents herself as a loving grandmother and active member of her community, despite the fact that she has aphasia and cannot utter a sentence, and Howard, a prolific novelist who must find a way to continue his life as a writer even after a stroke destroys his ability to read.

And there is Dr. Sacks himself, who tells the story of his own eye cancer and the bizarre and disconcerting effects of losing vision to one side.

Sacks explores some very strange paradoxes—people who can see perfectly well but cannot recognize their own children, and blind people who become hyper-visual or who navigate by “tongue vision.” He also considers more fundamental questions: How do we see? How do we think? How important is internal imagery—or vision, for that matter? Why is it that, although writing is only five thousand years old, humans have a universal, seemingly innate, potential for reading?

The Mind’s Eye
is a testament to the complexity of vision and the brain and to the power of creativity and adaptation. And it provides a whole new perspective on the power of language and communication, as we try to imagine what it is to see with another person’s eyes, or another person’s mind.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Oliver Sacks

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Oliver Sacks is a practicing physician and the author of more than ten books, including Musicophilia, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film). He lives in New York City, where he is professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and the first Columbia University Artist.
Published October 26, 2010 by Vintage. 273 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Mind's Eye
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Blog Critics

Reviewed by TredynasDays on Jul 13 2013

Science fact is surely stranger and more hallucinatory in the visions it provides than science fiction.

Read Full Review of The Mind's Eye (Vintage) | See more reviews from Blog Critics

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Maria Schamis Turner on Dec 24 2010

The Mind’s Eye is a flawed book that nevertheless reminds us how amazing it is to be able to see the world, however briefly, through someone else’s failing eyes.

Read Full Review of The Mind's Eye (Vintage) | See more reviews from National Post arts

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