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A woman strikes up a conversation with the man sitting next to her on a plane after some turbulence. He returns home to tragic news that has also impacted another stranger, a shaken pilot on his way to another continent who seeks comfort from a journalist he meets that night. Her life shifts subtly as well, before she heads to the airport on an assignment that will shift more lives in turn.

In this wondrous, profoundly moving novel, Szalay's diverse protagonists circumnavigate the planet in twelve flights, from London to Madrid, from Dakar to Sao Paulo, to Toronto, to Delhi, to Doha, en route to see lovers or estranged siblings, aging parents, baby grandchildren, or nobody at all. Along the way, they experience the full range of human emotions from loneliness to love and, knowingly or otherwise, change each other in one brief, electrifying interaction after the next.

Written with magic and economy and beautifully exploring the delicate, crisscrossed nature of relationships today, Turbulence is a dazzling portrait of the interconnectedness of the modern world.

Author: David Szalay | Publisher: Scribner

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Rating: 4.5/5

Thank you, NetGalley and Scribner, for the advanced review copy of this book. It will be published on July 16th, 2019.

This book was creative, and gripping, and just plain great writing. It's not long; I read it in one evening. I hadn't planned to, and it kept me up about two hours past my bedtime to do it. But I couldn't resist. I felt like I got pulled into something that would break if I stopped in the middle.

Turbulence is made up of 12 chapters — you might even see them as individual short stories — about 12 different characters and their ordinary, emotional lives. We start with a woman on a plane who is afraid to fly. She speaks to a man who heads home to some bad news. That bad news implicated the next man, a troubled pilot. And so on and so forth.

Until we come — unbelievably, and yet how could it be any different — full circle. All the way around the world (literally) in 12 stories. In 12 people.

The effect is this: We are all enduring something. You are never as far as you think from another person in this world, whether in connections, or in space, or in experience. We are all doing our best to live a life we love, alone and together.

This one needs to rumble around in my brain a little more, I think. But it is welcome to do so.

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