Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Atmospheric Disturbances

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Atmospheric Disturbances

A Novel

by Rivka Galchen

Atmospheric Disturbances
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  • First Published:
    May 2008, 256 pages
    Apr 2009, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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Beyond the Book

Capgras Syndrome

The idea of simulacrum, or impostors, has long been a subject of fascination in fiction, and Capgras syndrome, or variations on its symptoms, often crop up in short stories and novels. Most recently, The Echo Maker by Richard Powers revolves around a character who suffers from Capgras syndrome after he suffers a head injury in a car accident.

While the unreliable narrator of Atmospheric Disturbances is constantly evaluating and analyzing himself, he does so with increasingly suspect reasoning, and never touches on the obvious psychological cause for his belief that his wife has been replaced by an impostor.

Capgras syndrome, or Capgras delusion is a rare disorder in which the afflicted person recognizes all the physical features of another human being, usually a family member or close friend, but believes that the person they're seeing is an identical impostor. The French psychiatrist Jean Marie Joseph Capgras first described the...

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