‘Turbulence’ is a thoroughly and unequivocally masculine book. And why not? If there is such a category as ‘Women’s Fiction’, there certainly should be one called, ‘Men’s Fiction’. This book would fit in there snugly, and I, as a woman, would find it and read it with pleasure. After all, we all want to know how the other half lives.
I truly enjoyed this book because of its non-PC caveman honesty, because of its depth and originality and because of its astuteness of observation. The grand cities of this world are particularly aptly observed and captured in a few brilliantly framed snapshots. McLaren has a knack for extracting the very essence of Athens or LA, or Amsterdam, and serving it steaming hot and flagrant. In his hand, those cities turn into living-breathing entities with distinct personalities and quirks that render them unique. McLaren understands cities to their very foundations. He understands cities much much better than he understands women. But that is the beauty of this book. Women with small waists, long sleek hair and athletic thighs are loved, lusted after and adored in this book, but they remain a total mystery to the author. Fantastic! I loved reading about his mishaps and faux pas with women, his grappling-in-the-dark encounters, his hit-and-miss love opportunities. The woman in Uzbekistan made me cry; the petulant French woman dropped like a hot potato in the Syrian ‘outback’ made me howl with laughter. He just doesn’t get them, but by golly he tries!
Above all, Turbulence is a confession of a lifetime. It starts with a daredevil dive into life and takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery. Some of the debates are blunt and non-compromising, be it on religion or on abstract art, but that I guess is not just a macho-man speaking, that is an Australian man (and I allow myself this stereotype because I know McLaren has caught himself guilty of the same thing once or twice on this trip into his alter-ego).
An absolute gem of originality.