The Pequod Review:
Oliver Sacks's An Anthropologist on Mars is a collection of seven essays on individuals with various brain disorders. The profiles are generally longer and describe rarer conditions than those from Sacks's prior collection (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, 1985). They include: a painter who after a car accident is unable to perceive or even imagine colors, a man without the ability to form new memories, a surgeon with Tourette’s whose symptoms mysteriously disappear whenever he is operating on patients, and an autistic woman (Temple Grandin) who is better able to interact with animals than humans. These essays are so well-written, empathetic, and humane — Sacks doesn’t view these abnormalities as necessarily bad ones, but as adaptive in their own unique way — that at their best they rise to the level of great literature.