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This collection of essays are mainly casebook studies. Neurological patients, Oliver Sacks once wrote, are travellers to unimaginable lands. This book offers portraits of seven such travellers, including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette’s syndrome unless he is operating, an artist who loses all sense of colour in a car accident, but finds a new sensibility and creative power in black and white, and an autistic professor who cannot decipher the simplest social exchange between humans, but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behaviour. These are paradoxical tales, for neurological disease can conduct one or other modes of being which – however abnormal they may be to our way of thinking – may develop beauties and virtues of their own.
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