A review of
by Rivka Galchen
Rivka Galchen’s riveting debut, Atmospheric Disturbances, toys with many of the traditional mystery-novel tropes and makes us question, yet again, what distinctions exist, if any, between so-called “literary” and “genre” fiction. Between art and not art. But this is no ordinary whodunit: there’s a whole lot more at work here, intellectually speaking, than you’ll find in those airport potboilers. Maybe it’s a kind of anti-mystery. As in some of Paul Auster’s most mind bending, early fiction, Atmospheric Disturbances brilliantly raises more questions than it answers. If anything, we know even less when it’s all over than we did when we started. But Galchen is no Paul Auster nor is she meant to be—she might be even better.
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