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Rivka Galchen is the author of
Atmospheric Disturbances, now in paperback.
For our readers who may not be familiar with your work, what's the most accurate thing someone else has said about it?
My husband said I wrote a book about a man who loved his wife the way I wished that my husband loved me, which is kind of terrifying, because the narrator of my book is not the nicest of husbands, and his love is pretty toxic, and he's pretty, well, eccentric to say the least, but there you go, I guess we all have unhealthy fantasies, in fact, to have a healthy fantasy might be a kind of unhealthiness? I thought I was mostly just writing a book where dead people got a chance to email a bit.
What have you read/watched/listened to/looked at/ate recently that will permanently change our readers' lives for the better?
I learned about brushing the top palette of the mouth and it's like a whole other world of good feeling in the mouth. Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I'd never been bolder than tongue-brushing before, and I had to read Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine
in order to know. That and the Armenian string cheese from Damascus Bakery
— that is something to hope for. And I've been re-reading The Pillow Book
by Sei Shonagon, which brings joy even to the sourest of people, maybe even particularly to the sourest people. Is that too many things? It must be all that hope in the air.
Whose ghostwritten celebrity tell-all (or novel) would you sprint to the store to buy (along with a copy of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius so that the checkout clerk doesn't look at you screwy)?
Anything by Mickey Rourke, or by any among Mickey Rourke's chihuahuas, or by anyone who has had the chance to dye his hair or put makeup on his face.
Have you ever been a Starving Artist, and did it make you brilliant, or just hungry?
My mom packed my lunch for me even when I was a senior in high school, and when I was making 18K a year while working on my novel, she would come over with huge bags of fresh fruits and vegetables. And sometimes at my coffee shop, the waitstaff give me cookies for free. Maybe I would be smarter if I were hungrier. But I'm not sure it would be worth it.
What would you characterize as an ideal interaction with a reader?
An exchange of ginger snap recipes.
Have you ever written anything that you'd like to take back?
Every third email or so.