The Man Who Tasted Words by Guy Leschziner

The Man Who Tasted Words

This book is a fascinating collection of stories about individuals who live with incredibly complex and unique neurological disorders. One account is of a young woman who sees colours whenever she hears music where the colours change as the style of music changes. A second is about a young man learning to live with Asymbolia, never experiencing physical pain but having to live with the repercussions of having broken every bone in his body. We also read about the Riddoch phenomenon, Ciguatera Toxicity, Synaesthesia, Aphantasia, and the terrifying Carles Bonnet syndrome. Leschziner makes the biology behind the various diagnosis very approachable for those of us who are in no way schooled in science.

The stories of each of his patients are written with empathy and compassion and truly humanizes each person’s experience. I love the way the author leads us to each story with an anecdote from his childhood or from medical school thus personalizing the material rather than presenting it as a textbook.

Admiringly, the author honours the idea that we are all intricately unique and that “essentially our brains work as guessing machines, interpreting what’s coming in through our senses in the context of our model of the world. What we perceive relates to our existing beliefs about the world…” 

This is a  fascinating book for everyone to read, not for the science behind neurology but also for the inspiring strength portrayed in each of the patients whose stories fill the pages.

Thank you to Netgalley for the free ARC. This book will be published on February 22, 2022.

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