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Atmospheric Disturbances: A Novel

by

Atmospheric Disturbances: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Rivka Galchenrecieved her M.D. from the Mount Sinai Shool 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. Shortlisted for theJohn Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize

Shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for WritingA New York Times Book Review Notable Book

A Cleveland Plain Dealer 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—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 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.

"[A] brainy, whimsical, emotionally contained first novel . . . It's unusual—in fact (why be coy?), it's extremely rare—to come across a first novel by a woman writer that concerns itself with such quirky, philosophical, didactic explorations; a novel in which the heart and the brain vie for the role of protagonist, and the brain wins. While the voice and mood of the novel are masculine, clinical and objective . . . the book's descriptions of colors, smells, clothing and bodies show feminine perception . . . Galchen's inventive narrative strategies call to mind the playful techniques of Jonathan Lethem, Franz Kafka, Primo Levi and Thomas Pynchon. But she also, quite deliberately, echoes the Argentine giant Jorge Luis Borges. Like Borges, she sabotages concepts of identity, reality and place, fraying her protagonist's ties to all three . . . Galchen's brainteasing book, whatever its pretexts, is an exploration of the mutability of romantic love. Although she has intellectualized and mystified her subject, intentionally obscuring it in a dry-ice fog of pseudoscience, the emotional peaks beneath her cloud retain their definition. The reader senses Rema's anguish, whether or not Leo has empathy for it."—Liesel Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review

"Rod Serling, strolling through a 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 page. 'Same everything, but it wasn't Rema.' This 'impostress' or 'simulacrum,' as he refers to her throughout the novel, looks exactly like his young wife, imitates her Argentine accent perfectly and possesses all her memories and attitudes. But he knows she isn't Rema . . . This sounds weird, of course, and it is—deliciously so—but on another level, it's common: After all, lots of people eventually conclude that their spouse isn't the person they once married . . . What Galchen has done is play out that sad realization in the mind of a psychotic psychiatrist, a man thoroughly versed in others' delusions but unable to perceive his own."—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"A graceful handshake between science and literature."—The Wall Street Journal

Atmospheric Disturbances is . . . a contribution to the Hamsun-Bernhard tradition of tragicomic first-person unreliability . . . Most first-person unreliability in fiction is reliably unreliable; rather mechanically, it teaches us how to read it, how to plug its holes. Double unreliability—or unreliable unreliability—is rarer, and more interesting, because it asks much more of the reader. Galchen, a playful writer . . . boldly denies us the comfort of a conclusive explanation. Atmospheric Disturbances is a novel of consciousness, not a novel about consciousness."—James Wood, The New Yorker

"A dense, fractally complex first novel by the conspicuously talented Rivka Galchen."—Lev Grossman, Time

"Genuinely suspenseful . . . Ms. Galchen is a writer to be watched."—The Economist

"'Last December,' explains the narrator of Atmospheric Disturbances, Rivka Galchen's droll, exquisite first novel, 'a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife.' The speaker is Leo Liebenstein, a New York psychiatrist, and the wife is Rema, an Argentine considerably younger than her husband. Confronted with this ingenious impostor (she's so good he briefly contemplates the possibility that one of her feet might really be his wife's), Leo is initially nonplused. Soon, however, he formulates a plan: find the real Rema. His search spans continents, entails a possible career change and enlists the help of a patient who says he can manipulate the weather. Although the reader never truly doubts that Leo is deluded, the nature and root of his fixation is the novel's central mystery . . . At once mournful and playful, Atmospheric Disturbances is not in the end a novel about insanity, with all its terror and suffering; Leo's own disturbance too closely resembles the mentality of ordinary people."—Laura Miller, Salon

"[Galchen's] tone is addictive, playful, halting, intellectual, colloquial."—Anne Roiphe, New York magazine

"'Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife.' So begins Rivka Galchen's strange and enthralling first novel Atmospheric Disturbance, a whirlwind musing on doppelgangers, sanity, and meteorological currents. With deadpan wit and surrealist narration, Galchen's narrator, the psychiatrist Leo Liebenstein, takes the reader on a ride through New York, Buenos Aires and Patagonia, in search of his lost wife and of the nature of reality itself . . . Galchen's short chapters and dry delivery keep the plot moving, a twisty road where you can see just far enough ahead to appreciate the destination to which you're being delivered . . . By constantly keeping the reader on the defensive, unsure of the narrative's truth, Galchen induces the same sort of paranoia that Leo diagnoses in his patients and sees in himself. What keeps the narrative centered is the specificity of detail, the absurd descriptions of a small hole in a pocket, a pistachio-stained finger. Atmospheric Disturbances marks a masterful debut, a sardonic rollicking ride that returns you home, unsure as to whether you're the same as before the storm hit."—Sara N.S. Meirowitz. Lilith

"The usual thing to do, when a loved one goes missing, is to contact the police. But when Leo Liebenstein's young wife, Rema, seems to vanish, the New York psychiatrist looks to meteorology. His wife's disappearance is unorthodox. 'Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife,' Leo tells us. The woman is carrying a small dog—and it is this that prompts him to doubt her identity. 'Same everything,' he notes, 'but it wasn't Rema' . . . Giving voice to a character as weird as Leo is quite a tightrope act but Galchen, in this excellent first novel, confidently pulls it off. The twitchy, digressive prose and idiosyncratic phrasing (tourists in a Patagonian town are described as 'the local culture of nonlocal pleasure seekers') are counterbalanced by Leo's analytical cast of mind and hypersensitivity. He knows his actions make him seem irrational and he is constantly accounting for this. When evidence weighing against his quest threatens to overwhelm it, Galchen wrong foots us with a twist that suggests he might have been on the right track all along. The novel is also very funny. The sheer oddness of Leo's thoughts, and the inadvertently comical way in which he articulates them, break the tide of analytical information and make the story race along. Galchen owes debts to Thomas Pynchon: her sinister meteorological collective, the 49 Quantum Fathers, is surely a reference to Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, a book similarly preoccupied with cults. Meteorology, in Galchen's hands, becomes a fertile field, yielding insights into emotion and, in particular, the anxiety caused by knowing that we can never truly fathom the person we love."—Killian Fox, The Guardian (UK)

"There are passages so achingly beautiful in Galchen's strange puzzle of a book—about love, resilience, and perception."—Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly (

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.

Rivka Galchenrecieved her M.D. from the Mount Sinai Shool 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. Shortlisted for theJohn Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize

Shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for WritingA New York Times Book Review Notable Book

A Cleveland Plain Dealer 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 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 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.

"[A] brainy, whimsical, emotionally contained first novel . . . It's unusual in fact (why be coy?), it's extremely rare to come across a first novel by a woman writer that concerns itself with such quirky, philosophical, didactic explorations; a novel in which the heart and the brain vie for the role of protagonist, and the brain wins. While the voice and mood of the novel are masculine, clinical and objective . . . the book's

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

RIVKA GALCHENrecieved her MD from the Mount Sinai Shool 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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781429929134
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
New York (N.Y.)
Author:
Galchen, Rivka
Author:
Rivka Galchen
Subject:
Argentina
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Audio Books-Literature
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literature-Sale Books
Subject:
Sale Books-Literature
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20090427
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Grade Level:
A)</b><br><br>"Galchen's dark and comical mystery
Language:
English
Pages:
256

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Atmospheric Disturbances: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador - English 9781429929134 Reviews:
"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.

Rivka Galchenrecieved her M.D. from the Mount Sinai Shool 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. Shortlisted for theJohn Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize

Shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for WritingA New York Times Book Review Notable Book

A Cleveland Plain Dealer 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 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 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.

"[A] brainy, whimsical, emotionally contained first novel . . . It's unusual in fact (why be coy?), it's extremely rare to come across a first novel by a woman writer that concerns itself with such quirky, philosophical, didactic explorations; a novel in which the heart and the brain vie for the role of protagonist, and the brain wins. While the voice and mood of the novel are masculine, clinical and objective . . . the book's

"Synopsis" by , 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.
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