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Oaxaca Journal Paperback – March 6, 2012
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From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Dr. Sacks spent almost fifty years working as a neurologist and wrote a number of books--including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Hallucinations--about the strange neurological predicaments and conditions of his patients. The New York Times referred to him as "the poet laureate of medicine," and he received many awards, including honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal College of Physicians. His memoir, On the Move, was published shortly before his death in August 2015.
Sacks' work has inspired many adaptations, including the Oscar-nominated film of Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, a play by Harold Pinter, and several works by Peter Brook.
Gratitude will be published on November 24, 2015.
For more information, please visit www.oliversacks.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
On one level, we are treated to a kaeidoscope of hundreds of exotic ferns and their latin names he and his frends find in the lush vegetation of Mesoamerica. Not being a fern lover myself, I marvel at the intrigue of the hunt for these living fossils, objects from the distant world of time and creation before the advent of humanity. One would expect that such trivia would bore the reader, but no, Sacks absorbs us in his fascination with the varieties of these creature; he takes us along in the narrative by his marvel with discovery.
At another level, Sacks enters the world of Oaxaca. He treats us to the rich culture of the region. He regails us with tales of the potato, the tomato, the bean, maise and pepper. He describes the ageless Oaxacan cuisine that nourishes his fellow pilgrims and the people of the region. The rubber ball of the Zatopec culture and the games played with it especially intrigues him. And his delightful descriptions of the delicious Oaxacan chocolate in all its forms stimulates mouthwatering longing for a taste. More importantly, he tells us of the people who lived in the region and bore the brunt of the Spanish Conquistadores. One is treated to the rich history of the Mesoamerican civilizations that rivaled Rome and Athens. Yet, Oaxaca's civiliztion achieved greatness while being innocent of the wheel, iron, compass, and alphabet. Sacks tells us of his confusion as a Westerner entering this world where his reference points create discontinuity.Read more ›
It is also a quite wonderful description of this special section of southern Mexico. As well as describing the tremendous variety of plant life found in this Mexican state he also is stunned by the variety of food. One restaurant has well over 100 dishes none the same and few immediately recognizable to his North American eye. Sachs tosses in a good deal of history--of the ancient Aztecs, Toltecs, Zapotecs and Mayans as well as Cortez and the conquering Spaniards. He also passes on a few pointed comments about the church and the modern disaster that is Mexican government. He is intrigued by Oaxaca and thinks about the necessity of returning. But this book isn't really about Oaxaca or Mexico herself.
The thirty plus botantists on this tour are an soortment of gays, lesbians, heterosexuals--all in couples save Sachs. He remarks that he has always been a loner--never really part of a couple. One night after drinking a lot of mescal they all ascend a mountaintop to observe a lunar ecliipse. Sachs enjoys the joking and camaraderie immensely, but as the eclipse approaches totality he goes off by himself to best appreciate the event. Almost through the trip he finds himself feeling oddly.Read more ›
Because of the Author's boundless curiosity about pretty much everything, the trip becomes more than just a fern collecting odyssey. To the searching eye of Sacks, a simple midmorning sitting alone at a cafe table in a town square, becomes a rumination on human tolerance for sun and shadow. A visit to the Ancient Meso-American city of Monte Alban becomes an excuse to probe into the curious history of rubber- which the Zapotec people used to make their heavy sport balls for their own unique form of basketball. Casually encountered botanical names are savored for their historical baggage and contribution to language and culture. And each new plant Sacks and his travelling companions encounter sparks a conversation which could end up touching on just about any realm of human experience.
Sacks' travelling companions are a particular delight; intelligent, well read, boundlessly enthusiastic, they are the sort of people one dreams of having along on trips to casually recount tidbits of history, science, and cuture to enrich the experience. Anyone belonging to a club with a scientific or academic bent, will recognize the combination of passion and quirkiness in the author's new friends.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From the first sentences in the first chapter and on to the conclusion, Oaxaca Journal is an intriguing delight. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael J Helquist
Not necessarily about Oaxaca as so much about a fern trip. Still there's a feeling of the city and countryside. It is a nice way to ease into vacation.Published 1 month ago by Joyce
Read this book if you want to get caught up in an adventure that at first on the surface would seem to be an esoteric and even dull undertaking. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Russell J Hall
Poetry and natural history by one of my favorite authors. I now want to visit Oaxaca to see and taste the delights including botany in the region.Published 4 months ago by Pam Katko
I have never admired anyone as much as I do the unforgettable Dr. Sacks. I have read almost all his books but had skipped this one because, having a black thumb, botany has not... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bun-Bun Baxter
If I remember rightly, this was the first book I read by Oliver Sacks, other than a few brief selections.
It's essentially different from his other books. Read more