On the Move

A Life

4.04 based on 7376 ratings & 934 reviews on Goodreads.com
Picador

Publication date: 01.05.2015
ISBN: 9781447264040
Number of pages: 256

Synopsis

When Oliver Sacks was twelve years old, a perceptive schoolmaster wrote in his report: 'Sacks will go far, if he does not go too far'. It is now abundantly clear that Sacks has never stopped going. From its opening pages on his youthful obsession with motorcycles and speed, On the Move is infused with his restless energy. As he recounts his experiences as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, first in California and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital, as well as with a group of patients who would define his life, it becomes clear that Sacks's earnest desire for engagement has occasioned unexpected encounters and travels - sending him through bars and alleys, over oceans, and across continents.

With unbridled honesty and humour, Sacks shows us that the same energy that drives his physical passions - bodybuilding, weightlifting, and swimming - also drives his cerebral passions. He writes about his love affairs, both romantic and intellectual, his guilt over leaving his family to come to America, his bond with his schizophrenic brother, and the writers and scientists - Thom Gunn, A. R. Luria, W. H. Auden, Gerald M. Edelman, Francis Crick - who influenced him.

On the Move is the story of a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer - and of the man who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human.

In the media

Perhaps the most winning quality about Sacks' brutally honest book was his consistent willingness to consider the points of view of others. . .he proved to be one who really understood what it meant to be fully human
Sunday Times
[Sacks'] delving accounts of the invalids he treats have until now stood in stark contrast to his restraint about revealing himself deeply, even though autobiographical threads run through such books as A Leg to Stand On, Uncle Tungsten and Hallucinations. A doctor - concerned, engaging, humane, eccentric and unforthcoming - has occupied the foreground in his self-description. With On the Move, he has finally presented himself as he has presented others: as both fully vulnerable and an object of curiosity.
New York Times
On the Move is entertaining and illuminating and sometimes shocking, and it's given a deep tinge of poignancy by Sacks' public announcement in February that he has terminal cancer. If On the Move is his effort, at age 81 and in the face of death, to record a life well lived, he has succeeded beautifully
Tampa Bay Times