The Island of the Colorblind

It turns out that Sacks, neurologist and celebrated author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, is also an excellent travel writer. He flies to Pingelap, Micronesia to investigate color-blind islanders, where he hangs out with Knut Nordby, a cheerful Norwegian researcher. Their scientific findings mix nicely with their take on island culture, as they incorporate Pingelap mythology and hallucinogens into experiments and experiences. In The Island of the Colorblind‘s second half, a companion piece about Guam’s cycad trees, Sacks waxes lyrical about an ancient plant that may or may not have caused a Parkinson’s-like disease on the island; his study also transports him back to his childhood, when he first became fascinated by the Jurassic-period frond. The cycads, it’s clear, still fire his imagination, making this the perfect tropical trip for any season.

The Island of the Colorblind
  • Book