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Insightful analysis of relationships

Turbulence - David Szalay

Turbulence, David Szalay, author; Gabra Zackman, narrator

This tiny novel packs a big punch. It begins with the story of a woman who is visiting her son who has been suffering with, and is being treated for, Prostate Cancer. His prognosis is unknown, but he is not optimistic.

As the story reveals itself, using a brief anecdote in each of the lives of the 12 different characters, its purpose becomes known. Although they all, at first, seem to be from disparate and disconnected lives, connected by happenstance, in the end, the reader will see them knitted together, for the story comes full circle and returns to the place it began. The message in each character’s life is subtle and seems to make the point, not only that every life has uncertainty in it, but also that each life is fragile. However, it also intimates that life does go on, albeit in a different way for each of the characters. The main point is, that there is, indeed, turbulence in each life, and each of them must overcome their own crisis of character independently.

There were two negatives in the narrative for me. One was what appeared to be a contrived insertion of a current day phrase used by Progressives, "toxic masculinity". It was unexpectedly uttered from the mouth of a character whom I would not have thought had ever heard of the phrase, considering her life and background. The other was the ending, which left me hanging. In conclusion, however, after thinking about it, I realized that although no character’s part in the story was fully completed, the reader would probably be left with the feeling that their lives would continue to go on after the final page was turned. After all, isn’t that what we all hope for not matter what we face in life?