Year 4, Book 41

41. Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
I picked up this book because it was showing up on all kinds of the best books of the year lists at the end of last year. Apparently all these critics and I do not share the same taste in books. This it seems is the year for me to wind up reading books that drive me insane with an incomprehensible plot that doesn’t even bother to tie up in the end. I feel like I should have been reading this for one of my book clubs because it seems like we’ve had a knack for picking those, however in this case it was own bad choice.

The plot of this book was just plain weird. The main character, a psychiatrist, comes home to find a woman who looks and acts like his wife but for some reason he has determined she is an impostor pretending to be his wife. We never really get a good explanation for why this is other than the fact that she is ambivalent towards dogs, yet she has brought a dog home. He also has a patient who believes he can control the weather and is disappears to go on assignments given to him by some meteorological society. The psychiatrist and his wife (before she gets replaced by the supposed doppelganger) cook up some scheme whereby he pretends to be involved in the society and she phones him during his sessions with the patient and pretends to be some higher-up instructing him to tell his patient to stay put and deal with local weather issues. After the disappearance of his wife, the psychiatrist decides that it is somehow related to the society and his patient, who has also disappeared again. He then winds up in contact somehow with the person his wife was pretending to be, only you later find out that the guy actually died a long time ago, but there is never any explanation of who he was in contact with then or if he imagined the whole thing. It was completely bizarre and as I said it never wraps anything up. I just don’t get the point of writing things like that. It is not satisfying to read at all. I give this book 3 out of 10.

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