Giles Foden: Turbulence (2 stars)

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Giles Foden: Turbulence

Giles Foden’s novel opens with the fantastical vision of icebergs being towed from Antarctica to Saudi Arabia for the purpose of watering the Sheikh’s desert. Taking in sea lions trained to detect mines, frissons and debate, the horror and waste of war, and the fragility of genius, this tale of Allied scientists attempting to provide a weather forecast for the D-Day landings could have been an intriguing take on that historical period.

What lets it down is the fact that having evidently carried out vast research, Foden has crammed all his findings into this book. The result is that, for the large part, it reads more like a textbook on meteorology than a novel. If you happen to have a passion for that subject, it will likely be an educational and interesting experience. If not, it’s 350 pages of talking about the weather, interspersed with glimpses of what might have been an engrossing read.

(Faber)

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