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Atmospheric Disturbances

A Novel

Rivka Galchen

Picador

Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
Shortlisted for the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize
A 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.

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  • Atmospheric Disturbances - Book Trailer

    Rivka Galchen's impressive debut novel begins: "Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife." We dare you to not read further! Here's the international book trailer for "Atmospheric Disturbances."

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REVIEWS

Praise for Atmospheric Disturbances

"A relentless exploration of how a man could fail to see clearly the woman he loves . . . [A novel] that knows how to move from the comic to the painful . . . Galchen has a knack for taking a thread and fraying it, so that a sentence never quite ends up where you expect."--James Wood, The New Yorker
"At once mournful and playful . . . [a] droll, exquisite first novel."--Laura Miller, Salon.com
"There are passages so achingly beautiful in Galchen's strange puzzle of a book--about love, resilience, and perception."--Jennifer Reese, Entertainment Weekly (Grade A)
"A dense, fractally complex first novel by the conspicuously talented Rivka Galchen."--Lev Grossman, Time
"Galchen's dark and comical mystery is a clever take on the ways love, longing and overanalysis can drive you absolutely nuts."--Marie Claire
"Genuinely suspenseful . . . Ms. Galchen is a writer to be watched."--The Economist

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Rivka Galchen

  • RIVKA GALCHEN recieved 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.

  • Rivka Galchen © Sandy Tait
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Atmospheric Disturbances

A Novel

Rivka Galchen

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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