- By: Katherine Catford
Having been fascinated by his other books, I approached Oliver Sacks's new autobiography with enthusiasm. Once again Sacks blends scientific ideas with a human story in the formula that has made his other books on the wonders of neurology, such as Awakenings, so successful. Uncle Tungsten weaves together the story of Sacks's early life with a history of science—first chemistry, then physics, and later, biology enthuse him. Each is explored vividly with child-like curiosity, capturing its excitement. Each chronological discovery (both in the history of science and in Sacks's early life) is personalised with a sketch of one of the endless lists of his aunts and uncles, or a snapshot of his childhood in 1940s London.
Science acts as a medium through which he refracts the experiences of his childhood. This device allows for a pleasingly honest account of the events and people that dominated his childhood. He repeatedly recounts