Early on in Musicophilia, there’s a tale about a patient who develops a sudden, glorious attachment to music after being struck by lightning.
Though the phenomenon is a mystery, the subject decides that the pathology of his conversion doesn’t really matter—only the result.
Sacks might have taken a hint. These sketches of music-related mental dysfunctions and aberrations have significant medical value. What a non-clinical reader gains, however, is not so certain.
Sacks is a star of the non?ction shelves for earlier works like Awakenings. Here his composition too often goes sketchy and meanders, as if the author himself doesn’t know what to make of these curiosities. Also, the good doctor’s infatuation with classical music means scant notice of jazz, blues, country or rock ’n’ roll, all genres with their own special aberrations.