Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me
Writer and photographer Bill Hayes first met the great writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks in 2008, when Sacks contacted him to say how much he enjoyed Hayes's The Anatomist. They corresponded, found shared interests and met once for lunch. In 2009, when Hayes moved from San Francisco to Manhattan, he found himself living close to Sacks, and they began spending time together. Infused with grief, love and the beauty of the world, Insomniac City is Hayes's memoir about Manhattan and the life he built with Sacks.
Hayes seems to be one of those people whose appreciation of daily life and capacity for love only expand with age and the awareness of death. His compassionate curiosity extends to everyone and everything around him. He meets all kinds of New Yorkers in the streets and on the subway, talks with them, photographs them (his photos bookend numerous prose segments throughout), builds acquaintanceships and friendships. His relationship with Sacks is filled with domestic detail and tenderness, through to Sacks's final illness and his death in 2015. Thankfully, Hayes has no pat answers for anything in life, but many reasons why it continues to be worth living. --Sara Catterall