Book Review: Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen


I’ve been trying for the last couple of weeks to write this review but for some reason the words keeps failing me. I guess this is because I have never had to write my thoughts on a book quite like this one. A book with no real sense of purpose or plot – a book that is all about character building and nothing more. A book that is quite simply, strange.

Nonetheless, this is a book I actually enjoyed reading, if only because of its utmost originality and ability to confuse me whilst keeping me engaged. So, what is this book about?

This book is the first novel by  Rivka Galchen and it tells the dilemma facing psychologist Dr Leo when he finds out his wife has been replaced by a replica. If you think by reading the last sentence that this has to do with aliens or some CIA-inspired conspiracy, then you got it very wrong. The thing with this story is that his wife is actually very much still his wife, but that due to a series of event following a recent patient, Dr Leo, well…he somewhat loses the plot.

I must admit that there were some parts of the book which dragged and become almost unreadable (which is troublesome considering the book is a mere 240 pages long) but what kept me going is the parts where Dr Leo was talking to himself and trying to make sense of it all. His ideals and way of thinking were not only odd and absurd, they were also funny and touching. At the end of the day, all he wanted was ‘his wife’, and who could blamed him for that? It did made me wonder about my own relations, and how much of them and their personalities I am aware of.

Would I recommend this book? I do think this is a book a lot of people would enjoy reading but it is certainly not for everyone – I personally can only think of one friend who may give this book a try and even then I think he would give up half way. However, if you are after something completely random and different, then I would definitely suggest this book.

Have you read it? If so, what are your thoughts?

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