Excerpt from Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Atmospheric Disturbances

A Novel

by Rivka Galchen

Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2008, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

On a temperate stormy night

Last December a woman entered my apartment who looked exactly like my wife. This woman casually closed the door behind her. In an oversized pale blue purse—Rema’s purse—she was carrying a russet puppy. I did not know the puppy. And the real Rema, she doesn’t greet dogs on the sidewalk, she doesn’t like dogs at all. The hayfeverishly fresh scent of Rema’s shampoo was filling the air and through that brashness I squinted at this woman, and at that small dog, acknowledging to myself only that something was extraordinarily wrong.

She, the woman, the possible dog lover, leaned down to de-shoe. Her hair obscured her face somewhat, and my migraine occluded the edges of my vision, but still, I could see: same unzipping of wrinkly boots, same taking off of same baby blue coat with jumbo charcoal buttons, same tucking behind ears of dyed cornsilk blonde hair. Same bangs cut straight across like on those dolls done up in native costumes that live their whole lives in plastic cases held up by a metal wire around the waist. Same everything, but it wasn’t Rema. It was just a feeling, that’s how I knew. Like the moment near the end of a dream when I am sometimes able to whisper to myself, “I am dreaming.” I remember once waking up from a dream in which my mother, dead now for thirty-three years, was sipping tea at my kitchen table, reading a newspaper on the back of which there was the headline “Wrong Man, Right Name, Convicted in Murder Trial.” I was trying to read the smaller print of the article, but my mother kept moving the paper, readjusting, turning pages, a sound like a mess of pigeons taking sudden flight. When I woke up I searched all through the house for that newspaper, and through the trash outside as well, but I never found it.

“Oh!” the simulacrum said quietly, seeming to notice the dimmed lights. “I’m so sorry.” She imitated Rema’s Argentine accent perfectly, the halos around the vowels. “You are having your migraine?” She pressed that lean russet puppy against her chest; the puppy trembled.

I held a hushing finger to my lips, maybe hamming up my physical suffering, but also signing truly, because I was terrified, though of precisely what I could not yet say.

“You,” the simulacrum whispered seemingly to herself, or maybe to the dog, or maybe to me, “can meet your gentle new friend later.” She then began a remarkable imitation of Rema’s slightly irregularly rhythmed walk across the room, past me, into the kitchen. I heard her set the teakettle to boil.

“You look odd,” I found myself calling out to the woman I could no longer see.

“Yes, a dog,” she singsonged from the kitchen, still flawlessly reproducing Rema’s foreign intonations.

  • 1

Excerpted from Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen Copyright © 2008 by Rivka Galchen. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tender
    by Belinda McKeon
    Most of us have heard the slightly trite saying: "If you love something, set it free." But one can ...
  • Book Jacket
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    by Rob Spillman
    In this absorbing memoir, co-founder of Tin House magazine, Rob Spillman, recalls his artistic ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.