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Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen

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As ever to begin with, the blurb (supplied by Amazon...);

In this enthralling debut, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Liebenstein sets off to find his wife, Rema, who he believes has been replaced by a simulacrum. Also missing is one of Leo's patients, Harvey, who is convinced he receives coded messages (via Page Six in the New York Post) from the Royal Academy of Meteorology to control the weather. At Rema's urging, Leo pretends during his sessions with Harvey to be a Royal Academy agent (she thinks the fib could help break through to Harvey), and once Re- ma and Leo disappear, Leo turns to actual Royal Academy member Tzvi Gal-Chen's meteorological work to guide him in his search for his wife. Leo's quest takes him through Buenos Aires and Patagonia, and as he becomes increasingly delusional and erratic, Galchen adeptly reveals the actual situation to readers, including Rema's anguish and anger at her husband. Leo's devotion to the real Rema is heartbreaking and maddening; he cannot see that the woman he seeks has been with him all along. Don't be surprised if this gives you a Crying of Lot 49 nostalgia hit.


This could have been so great, after seeing a spotlight on it at the Amazon website about a month ago and reading the first chapter I stuck it straight on my wishlist and when I received it through the post I couldn't wait to get started. Madness, romance, intrigue, it has everything a novel needs! But then I swiftly realised a novel needs the authors voice to be addictive enough, or to be beautiful enough, here it is just a very dull voice.


The premise for the book is just not carried out well enough, so many oppurtunities to make this story wonderful are missed, the romance wasn't touching, you couldn't feel for either Leo or Rema, they were clearly just characters, and pretty dull ones at that. There aren't even the sparks of wonder in this book that would make me feel it was worth reading, there wasn't even one line that might stick with me. This tirade may be too much if I am honest, but when there are so many books in the world that can leave a mark on you forever (no puns about hefty hardbacks here sorry!) then this book just isn't worth the bother. Sorry.


Overall 4/10

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The blurb makes it sound fantastic. Thanks for turning me away from this because I could easily have wasted my time on it.


I agree, It sounds really interesting from the blurb, but from the review it sounds terrible.

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