Book details

Atmospheric Disturbances

A Novel

Author: Rivka Galchen

Atmospheric Disturbances

Atmospheric Disturbances


About This Book

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Top Ten Book of the Year
A Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Best Book of the Year

Page Count
On Sale

Book Details

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Top Ten Book of the Year
A Plain Dealer (Cleveland) Best Book of the Year
A Slate Best Book of the Year

Rivka Galchen's Atmospheric Disturbances is a "witty, tender, and conceptually dazzling" (Booklist) novel about the mysterious nature of human relationships.

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 control 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.

Imprint Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Reading Guide

In The News

“…[Galchen's] tone is addictive: playful, halting, intellectual, colloquial.” —Anne Roiphe, New York Magazine

“[A] brainy, whimsical, emotionally contained first novel...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...This cerebral, demanding, original new writer helps make the charges stick.” —Liesel Schillinger, The New York Times Book Review

“An original and sometimes affecting novel, one that knows how to move from the comic to the painful.” —James Wood, The New Yorker

“The story is genuinely suspenseful, and Leo's clause-heavy patter feels fresh and wry--his perspective curiously weird--even as he unravels. Ms Galchen is a writer to be watched.” —The Economist

“…Hailed as a graceful handshake between science and literature…” —The Wall Street Journal

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

“Achingly beautiful.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Witty, tender, and conceptually dazzling, Galchen's metaphysical tale of longing, grief, love, and the volatility of the self gracefully charts the tempestuous weather of the human psyche.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Enthralling . . . Don't be surprised if this gives you a Crying of Lot 49 nostalgia hit.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Everything is other than it appears to be in Galchen's assured debut--an intricate puzzle powered by an urgently beating heart . . . A superb first novel.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Galchen's astonishing debut is rich in detail and scientific exploration and a kind of dreamy psychological dissembling that keeps the reader as baffled as Leo right to the end. This dense, brilliant novel should be much in demand.” —Library Journal

“Galchen has created a heart breaking puzzle of a novel. Hilarious and daring. The novel tracks the way we seek to destroy our most precious love affairs and, in doing so, our own sanity. The hero, Leo, is like a brilliant mad scientist trying to prove that the earth is flat, because he desperately needs a ledge high enough to jump off of.” —Heather O'Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals

“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

“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 Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment

“…A droll, exquisite first novel…” —Laura Miller, Salon

About the Creators

Atmospheric Disturbances

Atmospheric Disturbances