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. (From McClelland & Stewart)
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From the book
On the way home from the hospital, she asked him if he wanted her to stay. 'No I'll be fine,' he said.
She asked him again later that afternoon. 'I'll be fine,' he said. 'You should go home. I'll look at flights.'
'Are you sure, Jamie?'
'Yes, I'm sure. I'll look at flights,' he said again, and he already had his laptop open.
She stood at the window, unhappily eyeing the street. The view of semi-detached Notting Hill villas and leafless little trees was very familiar to her now. She had been there for more than a month, living in her son's flat while he was in hospital. In january he had been told he had prostate cancer — hence the weeks of radiotherapy in St. Mary's. The doctor had said they would now wait a month and then do some scans to see if the treatment had been successful.
From Turbulence by David Szalay ©2019. Published by McClelland & Stewart.
"The book is about the way in which we're all connected, almost unprecedentedly, on a global level. It's the idea of degrees of separation, this web of connections. At the same time, the personal connections that we have with the people we live with is becoming slightly more frayed through the ease of communication that we have. We're less present in the environment in which we find ourselves at any given moment.
The book is about the way in which we're all connected, almost unprecedentedly, on a global level. It's the idea of degrees of separation, this web of connections.- Daviz Szalay
"We can't just sit down without getting our phone out and plugging ourselves into the abstract world in our devices. We've stopped noticing that people are around us. Many of the situations in the book are about people who are having difficulties communicating with the people they're actually with."