Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Turbulence” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.65  ·  Rating details ·  5,329 ratings  ·  848 reviews
From the acclaimed, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of All That Man Is, a stunning, virtuosic novel about twelve people, mostly strangers, and the surprising ripple effect each one has on the life of the next as they cross paths while in transit around the world.

A woman strikes up a conversation with the man sitting next to her on a plane after some turbulence. He retu
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published December 6th 2018 by Jonathan Cape
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Turbulence, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Turbulence

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,329 ratings  ·  848 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Turbulence
Angela M
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up

There’s a lot of turbulence in the lives of the characters in this collection of connected stories, not just the turbulence in the plane ride in the first chapter. The stories are too short for me to have felt any emotional connection to any of the characters, but the emotions and issues touched on here were recognizable and in some cases relatable, if that makes any sense. This is a skillfully written book with each story usually about two main characters, followed by another sto
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1000-reads
"With small tinkling noises, like tiny scratches on the underlying roar, a trolley was approaching in the aisle."

"She felt the vodka work on her. The tightly packed fabric of the world seemed to loosen."

"What she hated about even mild turbulence was the way it ended the illusion of security, the way that it made it impossible to pretend that she was somewhere safe."

[Van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889.]

David Szalay's Turbulence is a collection of stories that are linked by passengers on a plane. Th
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure how I would like a book had us meeting people for only a short time, before sending us off with another person for a short time, over and over again. But I really liked this book despite not getting to know more about each person and what would happen in their life after our brief meeting. I became so used to the structure of the book that I didn't want it to be over and wondered how I would feel when we'd come to end of our journey.

The author did a good job of circling us to a co
Elyse  Walters
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wrote a review- lost it - not going to worry about.
If I find it - I’ll post it later.

This thin book was totally enjoyable to me- I was so curious of where it was going to go ... I loved the snapshots of peoples lives.

Ha... if I sit next to on the plane -I just might be that annoying passenger who wants to hear all about you.

What stands out as a clear message to me is:
“we don’t need to know a person very long to feel connected to them”.

Brilliantly clever book!!!
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
3.5 stars

The world really is a village, a concept brought home in this slim volume. There are 12 chapters, each featuring a different person who is traveling on a flight to a different city. Their stories overlap, with each character suffering a crises and somehow connected to a character in the previous chapter. By the end, the reader has traversed the globe and the story comes full circle.

What a brilliant structure for a book and a beautiful example of the interconnectedness of all of humani
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I flew through Turbulence in a day, which includes 12 chapters focused on 12 travelers, each flying to a different destination. One story lands while another takes off though there is some overlap between each of them.

Turbulence offers a peek into these 12 lives through very short chapters. I often struggle with enjoying short stories but what I really liked about this book was the progression from one character’s story to the next — It just flowed. I also enjoyed the conclusion.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A daisy chain of stories that even this non-fan of short stories found entirely absorbing.

The dozen chapters each introduce a character with a link to the previous and while the stories are minimal, the glimpses into humanity are revealing. Starting on a flight from London to Madrid then traveling to numerous cities before coming full circle with the final chapter, Szalay manages to upend your perception of each character as they move from secondary player in a story to the title role in th
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
BDP-LHR: David Szalay, who lives in Budapest, was shortlisted for the London based 2014 Booker prize for his book “All That Man Is” – a collection of short stories, examining the crisis of masculinity, and which the judges felt to be eligible as a novel and fulfilling the “unified and substantive work” criteria.

LHR-LAX: The winner of the Booker Prize that year was “Sellout” – a novel set in Los Angeles and which has been criticised as an attempt at stand up comedy masquerading as a novel.

Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this story short and strange in a nutshell. Perhaps someone else will find something different. 2 of 10 stars
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Turbulence has proven to be an interesting concept, well executed. While I did not find that every story had identical power, most made me think afterward or caused me to consider something in my own life. This collection of linked stories takes an unusual point for connection: characters either meet while traveling by plane or meet a character from one story who has traveled to the next destination/story.

These men and women are linked as parents and children, as lovers or the spurned, as siblin
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Szalay’s twelve short vignettes circle the globe and feature people that are experiencing some turbulence in their lives. The chapters cite international airport codes, so LGW-MAD covers a flight from London to Madrid. This flight actually does suffer severe turbulence and causes a woman to fall ill while sitting next to a man from Senegal. The next chapter follows the Senegalese man to Dakar where he learns that his son has been hit by a taxi. The narrative baton then moves to the man riding in ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What she hated about even mild turbulence was the way it ended the illusion of security, the way that it made it impossible to pretend that she was somewhere safe . . ." -- the first passenger, on page 8

Szalay's Turbulence is a sort-of hyperlink story (or reminiscent of Robert Altman's signature ensemble films, like Nashville or Short Cuts) in which the reader jumps from one character to the next, and the initially murky connections sooner or later become clear. Admittedly, this high concept id
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: because I can't resist
This is what I think is called a "fix-up" novel, where a string of short stories link together somewhat to form a larger hole. The characters are briefly introduced in relation to a flight they are taking, and another character leaves from that airport and flies to another. Of course by the end there are some connections, but you don't necessarily get a full story from any of the characters, which I ended up feeling was a bit of a shame, because I felt interested in them.

I know the author was a
This book is a series of vignettes linked together by a gimmicky structure. From the blurb I expected the book to reflect how a single event (turbulence on a plane) reverberates through the lives of various characters. That is not this book. Each chapter of the book is basically about two characters and one of those characters travels to another city at the end of the chapter, beginning and ending with London. The characters were clearly etched and the book held my interest, but nothing profound ...more
Aug 23, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short novel has 12 interconnecting stories in which one protagonist from one story carried on to the next story (in a different country usually). Chapter headings include the initials of two airports (e.g., Chapter 1, LGW (Gatwick) - Madrid, Chapter 9, DEL (Delhi) – COK (Cochin International)).

I usually like interconnected stories, but this one was just OK for me. For one, I really had little sympathy for any of the protagonists. To me, most of the protagonists were shallow. Maybe it’s bec
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved it! superb collection of 12 interconnected short stories, exquisitely written, exploring the modern globalization of family and human relationship in general, with resulting air travels from spain or budapest to see a sick son or father in london, from quatar to budapest or toronto to seattle to see a daughter etc.
a quick, pleasurable, very intelligent, sad & funny read - highly recommended!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collections of interwoven vignettes. I enjoyed the postulating idea that the human race is all connected. I, unfortunately, felt that the stories themselves were a little too simple. And every story tended to be depressing and or negative (humanity has to have at least one positive within it. right? Or what's the point?). ...more
I created a new shelf for this -- vignettes -- because they're really not stories as such with plots. Instead, snapshots. The conceit is that one character from each vignette carries over into the next vignette. Kind of neat, that.

But really, beyond this parlor trick, it's hard to invest in glimpses so brief. And unlike, say, the vignettes in Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street, the writing is not special. In Cisneros' case, the book is rich in figurative language, as much poetry as prose
Robert Sheard
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This very brief novel–a novella really–is just wonderful. In the twelve chapters, each one titled using the airport codes for a flight one of the characters has made, we meet a series of characters who are all connected in some way. Some of the connections are filial, some merely accidental, but the whole novel demonstrates how all of us are interconnected in some way. It's a very tightly-structured, fascinating series of mini-portraits that are at times surprising, and at other times heart-brea ...more
"So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go"
- John Denver

Turbulence is a group of situational vignettes, each story grabbing the hand of the preceding one through a common character, until at last the book circles round back to the first. The stories span the globe, as one person in each flies to another country to weather bits of the human turbulence we exp
(3.5) These 12 linked short stories, commissioned for BBC Radio 4, focus on travel and interconnectedness. Each is headed by a shorthand route from one airport to another, and at the destination we set out with a new main character who has crossed paths with the previous one. For instance, in “YYZ – SEA” the writer Marion Mackenzie has to cancel a scheduled interview when her daughter Annie goes into labor. There’s bad news about the baby, and when Marion steps away from the hospital to get Anni ...more
The Artisan Geek
My review is up on my Youtube channel: Turbulence Review

Loved it!! Such an beautiful display of humanity, how we in emotional situations are most vulnerable and open to others! Such a great read! This is going on my crushing pile of books to review on my Youtube channel!! :D

A sincere thank you to Scribner for sending over this book! I know I say this all the time, but I LOVE short stories!!! :D

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not bad, it held my attention and is nicely written but the whole thing is slight. Not even really a collection of short stories though the connections are skilfully made, each story is too short and the whole isn't saying much other than lots of people lots of connections.

Another offering by an author who is very talented but has probably been pushed into publication with 'something' to keep their publisher happy.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, arc
What she hated about even mild turbulence was the way it ended the illusion of security, the way that it made it impossible to pretend that she was somewhere safe. She managed, thanks to the vodka, more or less to ignore the first wobble. The next was less easy to ignore, and the one after that was violent enough to throw her neighbour's Coke into his lap. And then the pilot's voice, suddenly there again, and saying, in a tone of terrifying seriousness, “Cabin crew, take your seats.”

I read D
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This overlapping and thematically connected short story collection was really fascinating! What worked really well for me was the linearity we followed in terms of the flight paths, and how connection were made between the stories so the reader felt a sense of flow that way. I also loved the geographic reach and range of perspectives (intersecting with different genders, classes, professions etc), and found myself particularly moved by the initial few stories in the collection. A short but impac ...more
Lilli Moore (lillireadsmoore)
When I was in high school and a wannabe writer, always with a pen behind my ear, always toting journals and notebooks and extra scraps of paper, I used to write letters to strangers any time I travelled and stick them in the seat-back on the plane, wedged them between chair cushions in coffee shops, and left them wherever I could imagine a curious someone else finding them and getting something out of my words. This was a rather grandiose, romantic and pretentious moment in my life, but on the o ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Szalay has always propelled his characters into motion and here he takes his approach to storytelling to its natural place: twelve linked people flying from place to place. Each of them is in turmoil and disrupted. The common (unfair in my opinion) criticisms of his incredible book All That Man Is may well have weighed on him and here he has a much broader cast of characters. But toxic masculinity is still his target and he delves with a lovely light touch.
Ron S
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linked together by a simple yet quietly brilliant device, twelve people collectively circle the globe, touching upon each other's lives with far less than seven degrees of separation. The spare writing wastes not a single word and conveys multitudes about our interconnectedness, co-existing with the essential loneliness of the human condition. ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3. 5

Listened to the audiobook in one sitting. Admittedly not as breathtaking as that other book about international travel (Flights) but it did grow on me with each successive linked short story.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Turbulence can either be read as a novel, or a set of short stories. Each story has to do with a plane flight, and each new main character is someone who was in the previous story.

It was a great setup, but since this book was novella-length, I felt like I didn't have enough time to get to know any of the characters. A lot of them were going through big things, but you only spent a few pages with each of them. Every time I would start to get invested, the focus would switch to someone else.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
GFOP Readers: Turbulence: A Novel by David Szalay 3 72 Jun 07, 2020 07:16PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Drowned
  • Poufne
  • Voksne mennesker
  • Linjen
  • Nordisk fauna
  • Bezmatek
  • Cudze słowa
  • Welcome to America
  • Koniec świata, umyj okna
  • The Other Woman
  • Od jednego Lucypera
  • Kan jeg bli med deg hjem
  • Halny
  • Empire of Wild
  • Confidenza
  • Immigrant City
  • Pustostany
  • Diary of the Fall
See similar books…
See top shelves…
David Szalay (born 1974 in Montreal, Quebec) is an English writer.

He was born in Canada, moved to the UK the following year and has lived there ever since. He studied at Oxford University and has written a number of radio dramas for the BBC.

He won the Betty Trask Award for his first novel, London and the South-East, along with the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Since then he has written two other

Related Articles

Love, murder, obsession, grief, and a mid-life crisis or two. This year's buzziest contemporary literary fiction features women on killing...
72 likes · 6 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »