Kira's Reviews > Atmospheric Disturbances

Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
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's review
Oct 11, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: favourites

Atmospheric Disturbances is a beautiful, sprawling maze of a book. It is a look at the fracturing mind of Leo, a clinical psychologist, as he tries to uncover the truth of the identical simulacrum that walked in the door one day instead of his wife. His search moves from Toronto to Argentina, sweeping in Harvey, one of Leo's patients. Harvey believes he is a secret agent of the Royal Academy of Meteorology, carrying out secret missions passed to him first through the newspapers, and then through Leo himself, playing into Harvey's delusions. At the center of these disturbances is Dr. Tzvi Gal-Chen (the author's father), a meteorologist for the Academy.

Sound confusing? It's not just that I'm crap at summarizing things. The book is oftentimes disjointed, skipping through Leo's delusions and trawling backwards with his relationship with his real wife. To me, there is an aching realism in that there are no neat and tidy endings here, just a portrait of a shattering mind. I found this book utterly compelling and full of gorgeous prose.

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