Sacks not only achieved that peace but managed to convey it beautifully in these essays. He found positive ways to think about everything, including his growing frailty: Perhaps, he suggests in the book’s final pages, he was in the Sabbath of his life, 'when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.' His tender book leaves readers with a similar sense of tranquility and, indeed, gratitude.
Gratitude is occasionally interrupted when Sacks jarringly name-drops famous friends, as when he recalls something his buddies W.H. Auden or Samuel Beckett once said. But why pick nits? Overall, Gratitude is a grace note to an epic career, words breezing by, the writing natural as rain. It's a generous spirit that spends his last few months on earth trying to distill the experience of facing death down into final words worth sharing with the living.
Gratitude collects four of his essays, one written before his illness and three written during it. Each one expresses his characteristic, unquenchable curiosity about the world around him, a thirst for experience and understanding that seems to have sustained him until the end.