Hallucinations

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What to expect

Have you ever seen something that wasn’t really there? Heard someone call your name in an empty house? Sensed someone following you and turned around to find nothing?

Hallucinations don’t belong wholly to the insane. Much more commonly, they are linked to sensory deprivation, intoxication, illness, or injury. In some conditions, hallucinations can lead to religious epiphanies or even the feeling of leaving one’s own body. Humans have always sought such life-changing visions, and for thousands of years have used hallucinogenic compounds to achieve them.

In Hallucinations, with his usual elegance, curiosity, and compassion, Dr Oliver Sacks weaves together stories of his patients and of his own mind-altering experiences to illuminate what hallucinations tell us about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all, a vital part of the human condition.

Critics Review

  • ‘Oliver Sacks is a neurologist, a man of humane eloquence, and a genuine communicator’ Observer

  • ‘Sacks writes, basically, adventure stories, accounts of voyages into the unexplained territory of the brain. In doing so, he reveals a landscape far more complex and strange than anything we could infer from our daily interactions’ Sunday Times

  • ‘Sacks is above all a clinician, and writes with compassion and clarity . . . The result is a sort of humane discourse on the fragility of our minds, of the bodies that give rise to them, and of the world they create for us’ Daily Telegraph

  • ‘In measured prose with a blessed lack of jargon, Sacks explores the ingenuity with which individuals cope with bizarre neurological conditions . . . humane, empathic, he is the doctor you would want’ Independent

  • ‘Oliver Sacks has become the world’s best-known neurologist. His case studies of broken minds offer brilliant insight into the mysteries of consciousness’ Guardian

  • ‘Sacks is at his most engaging when he brings the ostensibly strange into the realm of normality . . . This is where Sacks triumphs. Not just in the clarity with which he teaches us about the obscure phenomology of the human brain, but in the light his writings casts on even our most ordinary experiences.’ Daily Telegraph

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