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


3.66  ·  Rating details ·  3,798 ratings  ·  645 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, 160 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Scribner
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 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,798 ratings  ·  645 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Turbulence
Angela M
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
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
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
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
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
"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
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
Jul 03, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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!
"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
The Artisan Geek
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookcase
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
Robert Sheard
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
(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
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
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?).
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jaclyn Crupi
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The concept of interconnectivity has often been utilized in narration, but (for me at least) it seems to have always been more of a cinematic affair. Turbulence, though, does it in book form and oh so well. This slim volume of tangentially connected stories, each jetting off (literally since as the title might have given away they are all tied together by plane flights) where the last one left off until coming around in a circle to where it began, takes the readers all over the world and is posi ...more
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is basically 12 short stories, each story with a new main character that has at some point crossed paths with the main character from the previous chapter. In the end, it all goes full circle.

I didn't think I would like this book so much. Short stories just aren't my thing. I did wish that some of the chapters were longer so we could learn more about the characters, but the whole purpose ( in my opinion) was
Kasa Cotugno
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Turbulence is a masterful string of pearls, each story connected to the former until they come full circle. Identified by the airport designation code as the chain makes its way around the world. Near the center, there is a profound sentence that encapsulates the entire sense of each story: "It was one of those events ... that make us what we are, for ourselves and for other people. They just seem to happen, and then they're there forever, and slowly we understand that we're stuck with them, tha ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'She was very aware of her failure to be equal to the needs of this moment. '

In these connected stories each character is on a journey, be it on an airplane, within memories, or flying to their future. The title isn’t lost on readers, what is life but an irregular motion disturbed not by currents but by every experience, however great or small, one encounters? Human beings, despite their location on the planet, confront joy, sorrow, fear, hope,
Mar 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Really easy read. Read it throughout one day. I felt like there were so many things missing. It didn’t flow. I kept going back and saying to myself “are there pages missing? am i missing something? what?” I didn’t get it. The first chapter leading into the second made sense. Then it got messy. And didn’t flow. His characters repeated themselves so many times. I assume that was to fill the pages up?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
GFOP Readers: Turbulence: A Novel by David Szalay 3 66 Jun 07, 2020 07:16PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Poufne
  • Kebabistan
  • Cytryna
  • Confidenza
  • Od jednego Lucypera
  • Weather
  • Pomeriggio d'estate
  • Sobremesa. Spotkajmy się w Hiszpanii
  • Voksne mennesker
  • Bella Figura
  • Il colibrì
  • Questa è l'America. Storie per capire il presente degli Stati Uniti e il nostro futuro
  • The Man Who Saw Everything
  • The Mustache
  • Prima di noi
  • Febbre
  • The Topeka School
  • The Need
See similar books…
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

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our lis...
25 likes · 12 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »