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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's To The Boundless Limits of Reality, August 27, 2012
This review is from: Hallucinations (Hardcover)
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Oliver Sacks has crossed a mystical line with *Hallucinations* and given us a journey into the human brain in all its misfiring, surreal glory. Sacks has a knack for writing about the *different,* the *unusual* as part of the normal human experience; his *Hallucinations* can be amazing, frightening and even ugly, but they are not in any way inhuman. Hallucinations are a part of who we are and who we're supposed to be. They've always been there...

I'm aphasic. I had a brain injury at age 18. Before that, I saw every Word, every sentence, every paragraph I spoke or I heard spoken or sung, pass before my eyes in Times Roman font. Because my brother is schizophrenic, I told no one. What would people think of me and my Words? But seeing the Words gave me comfort from the time I was three. When aphasia ripped my "hallucinations" out of my brain, I thought would die of loneliness. (I very nearly did.) It took me six years to relearn how to read again; but the Words didn't come home to my eyes. I was forced to see the world as it *is,* and I didn't like it very much. Twenty years out from injury, while listening to Ian Hunter's haunting slow burn of "All of the Good Ones Are Taken," I saw a fleeting phrase superimposed upon the windshield. And then, I saw another. And another. My "hallucinations" were Home; and I was finally again whole. And here's where you say, "But she LOOKS so normal..." Grin.

The beauty of *Hallucinations* is that Sacks writes eloquently and draws one into the world of the hallucinatory experience. He wants us to understand the reasons behind the existence of these visions, these phantoms of the brain. There are some people who understand their hallucinations and function well while having them; others are frightened and cannot discern hallucination from reality. Sacks is the consummate observer, whose approach to neuroscience is always fresh and very challenging. For me, reading *Hallucinations" was an intensely personal experience that reassured me that my brain is not alone in its weird wiring.

I cannot recommend *Hallucinations* highly enough on ALL levels. This is not an academic work, but it should be read by every person studying neuroscience. Sacks is a visionary in the field; and *Hallucinations* is by far his best book to date. You won't be disappointed and you WILL learn something new.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2012 4:58:57 PM PDT
jack sherman says:
thank you for this very insightful review. And also for your honesty in describing your rare gift....that takes courage! I am fascinated by nueroscience and have read all of O. Sacks' books. i will buy this for my kindle(i just got the new lighted one) so i can read it when i wake up at 3-4 a.m. for my "reading hour"--(what i used to call insomnia...but no more:) it's nice building my "cloud library" which is eternal(or close enough), and i can access wherever and whenever. i'm also a WW2 scholar....but more focused on "Barbarrosa" than the holocaust....though they do of course overlap. keep on learning and have a fine and beautiful life!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 2:13:53 PM PST
Kayla Rigney says:
Thank you for your kind comment. I think you'll enjoy *Hallucinations* -- especially if you liked *The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat* and *Awakenings.* The mysterious worlds and workings of the brain are truly amazing. And Sacks makes the mystery of it all intensely readable. History is an important calling -- whether it's T-4 or it's Barbarrosa or "And my little dog, Fala." Grin.

PS-- I have a Kindle Fire, and I love it! My 5,000 books are jealous. As a brain injured person, I cannot gush about my Kindle enough, because I can change font size and style as well as page appearance.
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