- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial (5 Mar. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007276850
- ISBN-13: 978-0007276851
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 478,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Atmospheric Disturbances Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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More About the Author
'An original and affecting novel, one that knows how to move from the comic to the painful.’ New Yorker
'Genuinely suspenseful, fresh and wry…Galchen is a writer to be watched.’ The Economist
‘A playful and moving novel.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Rivka Galchen’s “Atmospheric Disturbances” is playful yet profound, Murakami-esque yet original, analytical yet heartbreaking. It’s an absolutely stunning and unforgettable debut.’ Vendela Vida, author of ‘Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name’
'Rivka Galchen has written a powerful novel about love, longing, Doppler radar, and the true appreciation of a nice cookie with your tea. “Atmospheric Disturbances” is fantastic.' Nathan Englander, author of 'The Ministry of Special Cases'
‘Reader, you are holding in your hand one of my favorite novels ever: Rivka Galchen's divinely hilarious, heartbreaking tale of Leo's search for his ‘lost’ wife Rema. This is a novel of Borgesian erudition, wit, and playfulness, though its obsessively pursued subject – as it rarely was in the Argentine's fiction – is love, the enraptured lover, and the mystery of the beloved, the intersection of love's fictions, realities, and pathologies. It is also as funny as any episode of the Simpsons (imagine Homer as a besotted and brilliant New York psychiatrist). The prose jumps with one astonishing observation, insight, and description after another. “Atmospheric Disturbances” delivers unforgettable joy.' Francisco Goldman, author of 'The Divine Husband'
From the Publisher
Rivka Galchen's `Atmospheric Disturbances' is an extraordinary, mind-boggling and entertaining tale which will challenge the way you view reality. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The blurb states: "Atmospheric Disturbances investigates the moment of crisis when you suddenly understand that the reality you insist upon is no longer one you can accept, the person you love has been somehow reduced to merely the person you live with, and how you spend your life trying to weather the storms of your own making."
All of which are true, though anyone reading the book could not help to think that the facsimile Rema is the real version and that Dr Leo has taken leave of his senses - maybe the fate of psychiatrists everywhere? Full marks to Rema for not giving up on him, though he appears every bit as gaga as his weather-changing patient Harvey (a name artfully chosen, I thought.)
On the other hand, maybe this debate is irrelevant. This is a closely-observed book in which not an awful lot happens but a great deal of time is spent deconstructing it in minute detail. At first it seems refreshing, though as time wears on you tire of Dr Leo and his anally-retentive ramblings. His tale peters out with speculation about how he might go on living with the doppelganger, though we have no word on what Rema's views might be on that. Maybe that's an opportunity for the next novel?
For me, the most decisive conclusion is that I want to visit Buenos Aires and maybe even Patagonia, though probably not with a self-obsessed American psychiatrist, nor with my wife or her mother or any of my clients!!
One might joke that 'Atmospheric Disturbances' is an extended riff on the implications of 'not being oneself'. But rather than posing and solving a simple mystery of literal disappearance and imposture, Rivka Galchen is more interested in tackling underlying epistemological and ontological issues: the fragility of identity; our frustrating inability to know other minds directly; the uncertainty of knowledge, of ourselves and others; the impact of loss on our sense of self; and our defensive habit, even in the face of the inexplicable, of seeking meaning, which always teeters on the edge of wholesale fabrication.
There is much more going on here than a plausible account of what it might be like to suffer a rare form of delusion. The theme of the doppelganger is well-established in fiction, as is the more modern tale of schizophrenic breakdown, and 'Atmospheric Disturbances' lies ultimately in that tradition of paranoid Gothicism, though with the historical Gothic's haunted-house set-dressings superseded by postmodernism's deceiving echoes and reflections.
The book is impressively ambitious, and its doctor-author is largely equal to the challenge of her subject: a real writer, not just a moonlighting professional.Read more ›
The story opens at least with a man whose wifely has lately vanished but has apparently been replaced by a loveless doppleganger. Instances of the past relationship are seemingly just as loveless. Details dribble in about a plot involving a good old fashioned crazy patient and a secret conspiracy type quest. There is a journey, both literal and figurative, and eventually twists are revealed. It's more a Cronenberg style approach showing a descent into madness through ploys and devices rather than anything engaging.
Galchen is a clever woman- in fact she may be the smartest woman in the world and most importantly she wants to tell us this. She has clearly spent at least 5 years in school learning things such as languages, sciences, and geography. Not many of us can say that. Under my cleverly veiled wit I'm sure some of you will have noticed that I'm making fun of the author's approach- there is little or no attempt to hold a hand out to the reader and say 'I'm in charge, follow me and I'll reward you'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a bizare account of a descent into psychoticness and out of reality. This is all about a man who's wife is not his wife (she has a dog and his wife would never have a dog)... Read morePublished on 29 July 2011 by DDS
I can totally understand the Murakami reference - there is a stylistic relationship, certainly to Wild Sheep Chase and Wind Up Bird Chronicle but where Murakami is satisfyingly... Read morePublished on 21 Jan. 2011 by Richard Hammond
There are quite a few negative reviews on here about this book, and I feel guilty for adding to the list.
I didn't read the whole book. Read more
A psychiatrist who's clearly mad is always a good start for a narrative - think Hitchcock's Spellbound. Read morePublished on 19 Dec. 2008 by Amazon Customer
Idiosyncratic debut novel - all digressive, quirky, idiomatic phrasing (hints of Dostoevsky and Thomas Pynchon) and a very cleverly constructed plot: A psychiatrist discovers that... Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2008 by Andrew Sutherland
I believe the author intended this book to be one of the sort that makes you think, and makes you question yourself, and what you are reading. Read morePublished on 19 Nov. 2008 by S. Diment
A book that uses an echo to The crying of Lot 49 for me might either be an inspired move or a pretentious self-referential literary exercise. Read morePublished on 14 Nov. 2008 by Mr. Nadim Bakhshov
Leo one day discovers that his wife Rema has disappeared but has been replaced by her absolute double. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2008 by P. Sharpe
I feel slightly fraudulent reviewing this, as I haven't read the whole book. Unfortunately I found the overwritten prose style unreadable. Read morePublished on 23 Oct. 2008 by Captain Pike