Review by Nathan Seppa
True story: A novelist gets up one morning and snatches the newspaper off his doorstep only to find the words appear to be written in some unintelligible script, perhaps Cyrillic. He suspects a practical joke but soon realizes he has lost the ability to read. The novelist finds he can still write, but can’t proofread what he’s just set down. Determined, he finds a way to produce another novel.
In his latest book, Sacks, a neurologist, explores the loss of various kinds of visual perception, including this real-life example of a condition called alexia, and how people compensate for it.
As in his previous books, Sacks excels at tracking down fascinating case studies. He describes a concert pianist who sits down to play a Mozart concerto in front of an audience but, like the novelist, she finds the sheet music