“Awakenings” by Oliver Sacks might be regarded as one of the most poetic stories ever told. When brought to the corporate Hollywood screens, it caused an enormous impact on its audience, propelling the author’s name into the luminous aura of mainstream culture and in itself, “The Island of the Colorblind” serves as the logic continuation of the literary brilliance found in his previous works.
In it, the renowned neurologist recounts his experiences during his summer visit to the Pacific Ocean archipelago of the Micronesia. In some of these small islands, genetically transmitted diseases proliferate due to the isolation of such locales. As a result, the same maladies recur throughout subsequent generations of individuals. There are societies where colorblindness is the norm, and there are population where strange neurologic syndromes resembling Parkinsonism strike many individuals. Both of these intriguing cases are all meticulously described by Sacks, that reveals his emotion through his accounts. As a result, he surfaces as a very empathetically humanistic scientist.
But the book is more than a scientific analysis on such terrible diseases. It is a thorough exploitation of the author’s literary resources. Sacks possesses the unique ability to write about reality in such whimsical terms. Metaphors and adjectives prevail amongst his descriptions of nature and of the human condition, a writing ability so profound and authentic to the reader’s mind that after he finishes reading the book, all he wants to do is meet Oliver Sacks in the flesh.