Rated Reads

Atmospheric Disturbances

by Rivka Galchen

Rated: Mild

Dr. Leo Liebenstein is convinced his wife, Rema, has disappeared. All the more distressing is that in her place is an almost-exact duplicate who is working very hard to convince him that she truly is Rema. But the psychiatrist is not fooled.

One of his patients, Harvey, is sure he is able to control the weather. He says he works for a secret meteorological society and fills assignments in different areas of the world. He is working against the 49 Quantum Fathers, who try to control the world and other essential duplicates of the world. Leo has tried in the past to help Harvey get back to reality, but now he finds himself entering Harvey’s reality as he searches for Rema.

Rivka Galchen creates a fascinating novel, one that could be seen as a mystery or science fiction, a dryly witty take on reality, or a journey into one man’s crumbling sanity — or all of the above. However it is read and interpreted, it is absorbing food for thought.

Rated: Mild, for one mild reference to “sexual positions.” The novel contains not one instance of bad language. It is a rare piece of literature in 2008 that doesn’t resort to using any offensive language at all.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • Atmospheric Disturbances
  • by Rivka Galchen
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: