> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781529111972
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $19.99


An original BBC Radio 4 commission, Turbulence is the new short story sequence from the Man Booker prize-shortlisted author of All That Man Is.

**WINNER OF THE EDGE HILL SHORT STORY PRIZE 2019**Discover the brilliant new short story collection from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of All That Man Is

Twelve people on the move around planet Earth, twelve individual lives, each in turmoil, and each in some way touching the next.

In this nuanced and deeply moving sequence, David Szalay's diverse protagonists circumnavigate the world in twelve plane journeys, from London to Madrid, from Dakar to Sao Paulo, to Toronto, to Delhi, to Doha, en route to see lovers and parents, children and siblings, or nobody at all.

Along the way, Szalay deftly depicts the ripple effect that, knowingly or otherwise, a person's actions have on those around them, and invites us to consider our own place in the vast and delicately balanced network of human relationships that is the world we live in today.

  • Published: 1 October 2019
  • ISBN: 9781529111972
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

David Szalay

David Szalay is the author of four previous works of fiction: Spring, The Innocent, London and the South-East, for which he was awarded the Betty Trask and Geoffrey Faber Memorial prizes, and All That Man Is, for which he was awarded the Gordon Burn prize and Plimpton Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Born in Canada, he grew up in London, and now lives in Budapest.

Also by David Szalay

See all

Praise for Turbulence

More tales of mortality from a master of the genre... [Turbulence] is a chilling achievement.

David Sexton, Evening Standard

A portrait of our species at a time of crisis... Szalay is our greatest chronicler of these rootless, tradeworn places, and the desperate, itinerant lives of those who inhabit them.

Alex Preston, Observer

Ingenious[David Szalay] knows about people… Stark and spare, Turbulence is an impressive novel.

Brian Martin, Spectator

Reading David Szalay is like receiving a series of electric shocks: his preference for short, sharp sketches, rather than a single, linear plot, means that his books deny the reader the comforts of conventional, more languid storytelling… Szalay’s stories may be over in just a matter of minutes, but they are violently, appallingly immersive.

Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

As Szalay consistently uproots his reader, proliferating characters and locations, [Turbulence] could be seen as an experiment in the limits of sympathy… a practical test for the way we feel (or fail to feel) for others. Such calculated neutrality is the perfect foil to some heart-stoppingly beautiful prose… Things in this elegant, frightening, politically charged book, fall apart. They also lift off.

Sophie Ratcliffe, Daily Telegraph

Szalay’s gift for inhabiting entirely different lives is as remarkable and spooky as ever.

Andrew Billen, The Times

[David Szalay's] mastery of form is evident: with deft touches he builds a tangible world.

Hannah Shaddock, Radio Times

I was intrigued by the premise and the first story didn't disappoint, capturing that altered state which being cooped up in [an aeroplane] seems to invoke.

Kate Chisholm, Spectator

Beautifully and delicately told. Each perfectly-formed story is part of a bigger narrative, as Szalay explores the way our actions influence those around us, and highlights the fact that while our technologically connected planet seems to be growing smaller, the people living upon it have grown more isolated from one another.

Christian Lisseman, Big Issue

Especially striking, in Mr Szalay’s recent work [Turbulence], is how easily he inhabits diverse perspectives… A willingness to leave the dots unjoined is one of the virtues that make Mr Szalay's fiction so rewarding.


One of the impressive things about [Turbulence] is the speed and deftness with which Szalay convinces the reader that he knows what it's like to be an Indian guest worker in Qatar, an upmarket journalist in Sao Paulo, or a prosperous Senegalese businessman... Szalay's mixture of directness and withholding looks increasingly masterly.

Financial Times

Affecting… an ambitious, realist and fascinating sequenced collection that often courts discomfort.

Mika Ross-Southall, Sunday Times

The wonderful David Szalay is back with Turbulence, an Editor's Choice for me.

Alice O'Keeffe, Bookseller

Gently, intricately linked [stories].

Hannah Shaddock, Radio Times

[I had] an uncanny sense of being held captive on a global fairground ride.

Ian Whitfeld, Art Review

Szalay conjures up his characters and locations deftly and elegantly, giving each subtle vignette a lingering resonance.

Anthony Gardner, Mail on Sunday

Embedded in each story is a similar moment of jeopardy, disrupting the illusion to remind us how “normal life” is as unlikely and precarious as flight… Each chapter is extremely short, and yet, with impressive economy, Szalay establishes both a new character and sense of security, only to shatter it with a swift, surprising reveal.

Claire Lowdon, Times Literary Supplement

There’s barely a story here which isn’t in some way engaging and absorbing, the author’s compassion and involvement with characters shining through even in times of deepest isolation.

Alastair Mabbott, The Herald

Each story is wonderfully imagined, with a pleasing absence of authorial sermonising. Ambitious and haunting, these expertly executed vignette – confident in their concision and control – seem hard to improve upon.

Jude Cook

What Szalay does so well is the minute-by-minute apprehension of the close-up world…combined…with an impressively global vision… It’s part of Szalay’s genius that he can encompass the distance between the two.

Justine Jordan, Guardian

Powerful stuff… incisive writing.

Rob Doyle, Irish Times

High-concept and highbrow… a surprisingly poignant lap around the world

Lauren Mechling, Vanity Fair

Turbulence…works brilliantly, with each tale carrying on from the last, interconnected by characters on a journey somewhere. The transitory nature of modern life is captured magnificently, building into a fine meditation on 21st-century anxiety.

Ben East, Observer

Turbulence… comes together as a whole wonderfully, showing great insight and empathy, as well as a subtle yet gifted writing style. A beautiful little book!

Eastern Daily Press

Related titles