Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Atmospheric Disturbances - Cyndi's Review

Book: Atmospheric Disturbances
Author: Rivka Galchen
My review:
This book is from the New York Times Notable Books of 2008 list. I was immediately intrigued by it when reading the description of the book. Basically it is the story of a psychiatrist who believes his wife was replaced with a doppleganger/simulacrum. Throughout the book we learn a lot about his wife and her doppleganger and his quest to find his real wife.
This book is written in the psychiatrist's perspective and he is quite logical (not that his logic often makes sense to the reader but it does to him). I am not a logical person, not even a bit. I don't see the point of logic at all, I have no use for it!!! If I were to give Leo a Personality Dimensions test, he would be Inquiring Green - very logical, inquisitive, scientifically minded, etc. To be honest, the way this book was written initially worried me - what with me having no use for logic. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the book. The logic didn't throw me off at all.
It is probably because the author interweaves logic with these incredibly detailed descriptions of minute things like a jacket that he thought the doppleganger should wear. Since when does a man care about what a jacket looks like, especially an Inquiring Green man???
Here's an excerpt from the part about the jacket (p. 218):
That next day I found a heavy coat that I knew would look beautiful on the simulacrum; it was of a pale blue wool, not wholly unlike Rema's winter coat; I placed the coat in the simulacrum's arms with assurance. Although it was not a perfect coat, and not exactly like Rema's, I knew that later we could locate oversized buttons to sew onto it and then it would be spectacular. And meanwhile it could keep her warm.
This novel was intriguing, funny, sad and more. I think Heather O'Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals, described this book the best when she said, "Galchen has created a heartbreaking puzzle of a novel. Hilarious and daring."
My rating: 5 dopplegangers out of 5 simulacrums
Hope this review is okay - I'm much more of a reader than a writer!!!


3M said...

Glad to see someone liked it as much as I did!

Pam said...

This sounds really good!