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Atmospheric Disturbances

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Atmospheric Disturbances Cover

ISBN13: 9780374200114
ISBN10: 0374200114
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

In Rivka Galchen's incredibly impressive debut novel, Dr. Leo Liebenstein tries to unravel the mystery of his missing wife — and her "replacement," who looks almost exactly like her. Funny, heartbreaking, absurd, and extraordinarily intelligent, this Borgesian psychological mystery is uniquely and utterly satisfying.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Dr. Leo Liebenstein's wife disappears, she leaves behind a single, confounding clue: a woman who looks, talks, and behaves exactly like her — or almost exactly like her — and even audaciously claims to be her. While everyone else is fooled by this imposter, Leo knows better than to trust his senses in matters of the heart. Certain that the original Rema is alive and in hiding, Leo embarks on a quixotic journey to reclaim his lost love.

With the help of his psychiatric patient Harvey — who believes himself to be a secret agent who can control the weather — Leo attempts to unravel the mystery of the spousal switch. His investigation leads him to the enigmatic guidance of the meteorologist Dr. Tzvi Gal-Chen, the secret workings of the Royal Academy of Meteorology in their cosmic conflict with the 49 Quantum Fathers, and the unwelcome conviction that somehow he — or maybe his wife, or maybe even Harvey — lies at the center of all these unfathomables. From the streets of New York to the southernmost reaches of Patagonia, Leo's erratic quest becomes a test of how far he is willing to take his struggle against the seemingly uncontestable truth he knows in his heart to be false.

Atmospheric Disturbances is at once a moving love story, a dark comedy, a psychological thriller, and a deeply disturbing portrait of a fracturing mind. With tremendous compassion and dazzling literary sophistication, Rivka Galchen investigates the moment of crisis when you suddenly realize that the reality you insist upon is no longer one you can accept, and the person you love has become merely the person you live with. This highly inventive debut explores the mysterious nature of human relationships, and how we spend our lives trying to weather the storms of our own making.

Review:

"In this enthralling debut, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Liebenstein sets off to find his wife, Rema, who he believes has been replaced by a simulacrum. Also missing is one of Leo's patients, Harvey, who is convinced he receives coded messages (via Page Six in the New York Post) from the Royal Academy of Meteorology to control the weather. At Rema's urging, Leo pretends during his sessions with Harvey to be a Royal Academy agent (she thinks the fib could help break through to Harvey), and once Re- ma and Leo disappear, Leo turns to actual Royal Academy member Tzvi Gal-Chen's meteorological work to guide him in his search for his wife. Leo's quest takes him through Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and as he becomes increasingly delusional and erratic, Galchen adeptly reveals the actual situation to readers, including Rema's anguish and anger at her husband. Leo's devotion to the 'real' Rema is heartbreaking and maddening; he cannot see that the woman he seeks has been with him all along. Don't be surprised if this gives you a Crying of Lot 49 nostalgia hit. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Rod Serling, strolling through some ghastly gallery of distorted portraits, should introduce Rivka Galchen's first novel. "Atmospheric Disturbances" takes place in the twilight zone of Leo Liebenstein's highly rational but utterly deluded mind. He's a middle-aged psychiatrist confounded by a strange problem: "A woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife," he tells us on the opening... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] dense, brilliant novel....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"A superb first novel." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Achingly beautiful." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The story is genuinely suspenseful....Ms. Galchen is a writer to be watched." The Economist

Review:

"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

Review:

"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

Review:

"Erudite and chock-full of heartache, Rivka Galchen's virtuosic 'debut' novel reads like the work of a cutting-edge literary alchemist who has created in her laboratory the Book of the Now. Part thriller, part romance, part autobiography, part psychological study, her book's sweetly skewed brilliance and stealth-bomb sadness will make you swoon with this realization: yes, these kinds of books are still possible." Heidi Julavitz, author of The Uses of Enchantment

Review:

"[A] skillful exploration of the blurry lines between reality and imagination." Dallas Morning News

Synopsis:

At once a moving love story, a dark comedy, a psychological thriller, and a deeply disturbing portrait of a fracturing mind, this highly inventive debut explores the mysterious nature of human relationships.

Synopsis:

Thirteen hilarious, moving, and beautifully brutal stories by David Gordon, the award-winning author of Mystery Girl and The Serialist.
In these funny, surprising, and touching stories, Gordon gets at the big stuff — art and religion, literature and madness, the supernatural, and the dark fringes of sexuality — in his own unique style, described by novelist Rivka Galchen as “Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoyevsky — yet still pure David Gordon.”
Gordon's creations include ex-gangsters and terrifying writing coaches, Internet girlfriends and bogus memoirists, Chinatown ghosts, and vampires of Queens. “The Amateur” features a cafe encounter with a terrible artist who carries a mind-blowing secret. In the long, beautifully brutal title story, a man numbed by life finds himself flirting with and mourning lost souls in the purgatory of sex chatrooms. The result is both unflinching and hilarious, heartbreaking and life-affirming.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Salon.com Top Ten Book of the Year

A Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Best Book of the Year

A Slate Best Book of the Year

When Dr. Leo Liebenstein's wife disappears, she leaves behind a single confounding clue: a woman who looks, talks, and behaves exactly like her. A simulatcrum. But Leo is not fooled, and he knows better than to trust his senses in matters of the heart. Certain that the real Rema is alive and in hiding, he embarks on a quixotic journey to reclaim her. With the help of his psychiatric patient Harvey--who believes himself to be a secret agent able to conrtol the weather--his investigation leads him from the streets of New York City to the southernmost reaches of Patagonia, in search of the woman he loves. Atmospheric Disturbances is a "witty, tender, and conceptually dazzling" (Booklist) novel about the mysterious nature of human relationships.

 

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About the Author

Rivka Galchen received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, having spent a year in South America working on public health issues. Galchen recently completed her MFA at Columbia University, where she was a Robert Bingham Fellow. Her essay on the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics was published in The Believer, and she is the recipient of a 2006 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Galchen lives in New York City. This is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Samsara, November 15, 2008 (view all comments by Samsara)
An homage to Cortazar's Hopscotch by way of Borges? Or maybe a Murakami-esque wild sheep chase by way of Pynchon? Whatever the literary antecedents, this novel is unique amongst all of the other current works by young novelists.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
Tom Wagner, September 11, 2008 (view all comments by Tom Wagner)
Fascinating look at the onset of mental illness and delusional thinking. How does one square up contradictory facts? More, the love story is as much about the devotion of the wife, whose husband believes she has been replaced by a simulacrum, as it is about his search for his "real" wife. A fun read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
jchaya, July 1, 2008 (view all comments by jchaya)
Tremendously fun for a novel of ideas; will appeal to fans of DeLillo, Pynchon, Barthelme and other po-mo mindbenders.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374200114
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Galchen, Rivka
Author:
Gordon, David
Publisher:
Pi cador
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Impostors and imposture
Subject:
Psychiatrists
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Argentina
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090427
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes 5 black-and-white illustrations
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.5 x 0.9 in

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» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Atmospheric Disturbances Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374200114 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In Rivka Galchen's incredibly impressive debut novel, Dr. Leo Liebenstein tries to unravel the mystery of his missing wife — and her "replacement," who looks almost exactly like her. Funny, heartbreaking, absurd, and extraordinarily intelligent, this Borgesian psychological mystery is uniquely and utterly satisfying.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this enthralling debut, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Liebenstein sets off to find his wife, Rema, who he believes has been replaced by a simulacrum. Also missing is one of Leo's patients, Harvey, who is convinced he receives coded messages (via Page Six in the New York Post) from the Royal Academy of Meteorology to control the weather. At Rema's urging, Leo pretends during his sessions with Harvey to be a Royal Academy agent (she thinks the fib could help break through to Harvey), and once Re- ma and Leo disappear, Leo turns to actual Royal Academy member Tzvi Gal-Chen's meteorological work to guide him in his search for his wife. Leo's quest takes him through Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and as he becomes increasingly delusional and erratic, Galchen adeptly reveals the actual situation to readers, including Rema's anguish and anger at her husband. Leo's devotion to the 'real' Rema is heartbreaking and maddening; he cannot see that the woman he seeks has been with him all along. Don't be surprised if this gives you a Crying of Lot 49 nostalgia hit. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A] dense, brilliant novel....Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "A superb first novel."
"Review" by , "Achingly beautiful."
"Review" by , "The story is genuinely suspenseful....Ms. Galchen is a writer to be watched."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Erudite and chock-full of heartache, Rivka Galchen's virtuosic 'debut' novel reads like the work of a cutting-edge literary alchemist who has created in her laboratory the Book of the Now. Part thriller, part romance, part autobiography, part psychological study, her book's sweetly skewed brilliance and stealth-bomb sadness will make you swoon with this realization: yes, these kinds of books are still possible."
"Review" by , "[A] skillful exploration of the blurry lines between reality and imagination."
"Synopsis" by , At once a moving love story, a dark comedy, a psychological thriller, and a deeply disturbing portrait of a fracturing mind, this highly inventive debut explores the mysterious nature of human relationships.
"Synopsis" by ,
Thirteen hilarious, moving, and beautifully brutal stories by David Gordon, the award-winning author of Mystery Girl and The Serialist.
In these funny, surprising, and touching stories, Gordon gets at the big stuff — art and religion, literature and madness, the supernatural, and the dark fringes of sexuality — in his own unique style, described by novelist Rivka Galchen as “Dashiell Hammett divided by Don DeLillo, to the power of Dostoyevsky — yet still pure David Gordon.”
Gordon's creations include ex-gangsters and terrifying writing coaches, Internet girlfriends and bogus memoirists, Chinatown ghosts, and vampires of Queens. “The Amateur” features a cafe encounter with a terrible artist who carries a mind-blowing secret. In the long, beautifully brutal title story, a man numbed by life finds himself flirting with and mourning lost souls in the purgatory of sex chatrooms. The result is both unflinching and hilarious, heartbreaking and life-affirming.
"Synopsis" by ,

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Salon.com Top Ten Book of the Year

A Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Best Book of the Year

A Slate Best Book of the Year

When Dr. Leo Liebenstein's wife disappears, she leaves behind a single confounding clue: a woman who looks, talks, and behaves exactly like her. A simulatcrum. But Leo is not fooled, and he knows better than to trust his senses in matters of the heart. Certain that the real Rema is alive and in hiding, he embarks on a quixotic journey to reclaim her. With the help of his psychiatric patient Harvey--who believes himself to be a secret agent able to conrtol the weather--his investigation leads him from the streets of New York City to the southernmost reaches of Patagonia, in search of the woman he loves. Atmospheric Disturbances is a "witty, tender, and conceptually dazzling" (Booklist) novel about the mysterious nature of human relationships.

 

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