The River of Consciousness

Publisher: Knopf Canada
A profoundly fascinating, illuminating major work from the beloved, bestselling thinker and neurologist Oliver Sacks--completed by him just before his death--provides readers with a compelling, rare gift from the master.

The River of Consciousness
reflects Oliver Sacks at his wisest and most humane, as he examines some of the human animal's most remarkable faculties: memory, creativity, consciousness, and our present, ongoing evolution.
     Before his death, Sacks personally collected into this one volume his recent essays and case studies, never before published in book form, which he felt best displayed his passionate engagement with his most compelling and seminal ideas. The book, lucid and accessible as ever, is a mirror of his own consciousness, discovering in his personal and humane interactions with others, unique insight, and fresh meaning.
     Featuring a preface written two weeks before his death, The River of Consciousness reveals the beloved, bestselling author's unique ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless project to understand what it is that makes us human.

PRAISE FOR

“I love every keen observation Oliver Sacks makes about nature, that of animals and humans, of the body and the mind. His words are like a benediction to life, and all the more palpable as Sacks confronts his own impending death. These are soulful essays that take us into self-reflection about the intricacies of our own consciousness.” —Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club

“[O]ne always feels with each new work from Sacks that a conversation is simply continuing, one never less than rigorously curious, but also necessarily circular, referencing previous points of engagement as a way to move forward or expand an ever-yielding idea. That feeling is no less acute with The River of Consciousness. . . . [Sacks] never lost his restless fever for learning or for sharing his learning through writing. . . . True to its title, the book is dictated by a flood of mental energy, thus it is more than mere sentimentality to say that, more than two years after his death, Sacks’s spirit still courses through us. Long may it flow.” —The Globe and Mail
 
[A] last bow from a genius who leaves a deep appreciation for a rapidly changing planet.” —W

The River of Consciousness displays Sacks’s staggering, contemplative breadth. These beautiful, lucid, often profound essays enlighten and unify seemingly disparate subjects: the relativity of our perception of time and speed, the nature of consciousness, Freud’s discovery of the Unconscious, and its relation to creativity. And he explores our emerging insight, that wherever life exists on Darwin’s evolutionary Tree of Life, even on its lower branches, there is probably sentience, something mental, such that the river of consciousness and the river of life flow into each other far more than we have understood.” —Norman Doidge, MD, author of The Brain That Changes Itself
 
“Oliver Sacks knew how much his readers would miss him. His was a voice that could untangle even the most formidable knots of medical mystery—the bewildering maladies of the brain—and roll them out into smooth ribbons of human story. These stories he tied around his reader’s wrist, as with a child. His words led us, guiding us out of our incomprehension and into the light of reason. Forever a healer, Oliver Sacks compounded a medicine to salve our grief, even as he lay dying. Sacks lovingly outlined ten such stories before he left us, and indeed, blessed are we who mourn.  I read these essays in one night, spellbound as he described petals, cameras, bombs—and, of course, neurons—so enraptured with details that only later did I realize how he had also explained the weightiness of time, memory and learning itself. The River of Consciousness is the precious voice of Oliver Sacks come back to us to do what all great seers do: lead us to places that we could never have found on our own.” —Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl