- Title: The Confusion of Languages
- Author: Siobhan Fallon
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Pages: 336
- Published: June 2017 – Putnam
- Source: Publisher
Description: Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the U.S. embassy in Jordan, but that’s about all the women have in common. After two years, Cassie’s become an expert on the rules, but newly arrived Margaret sees only her chance to explore. So when a fender-bender sends Margaret to the local police station, Cassie reluctantly agrees to watch Margaret’s toddler son. But as the hours pass, Cassie’s boredom and frustration turn to fear: Why isn’t Margaret answering her phone, and why is it taking so long to sort out a routine accident? Snooping around Margaret’s apartment, Cassie begins to question not only her friend’s whereabouts but also her own role in Margaret’s disappearance.
Written with emotional insight and stunning prose, The Confusion of Languages is a shattering portrait of a collision between two women and two worlds, as well as a poignant glimpse into the private lives of American military families living overseas. (publisher)
My take: Two women whose husbands are stationed in Jordan are thrown together when Cassie, who has lived there a while, is volunteered by her husband to show newly arrived Margaret around. Cassie resents her husband for that and a host of other things. Most of all she’s angry about their infertility and now she has to spend a lot of time with Margaret and her toddler son. Margaret has issues of her own – not the least being the guilt she feels about a few things she’s done. I’ve known people like both women. Some of them are friends I adore. I have to say I’d want Cassie in my corner when the chips were down. But there were things I liked about Margaret that Cassie addresses in the epilogue.
This was a wonderful character study of two interesting and flawed women. Fallon drew me in with the interactions of the women and then expanded to their husbands and a few other characters. I couldn’t wait to get back to this novel each day just to see where it would lead. I loved the expat aspect – living in a country where you stand out by what you wear, how you interact with locals, etc. It all mattered. When cultures with glaring differences are thrown together there’s great opportunity for confusion on both sides. Margaret wasn’t always open to what Cassie tried to teach her about the culture of Jordan. To say the least! I also loved when Cassie and Margaret ventured out to various tourist sites. I could visualize the different places and have added them to my travel bucket list. I really enjoyed The Confusion of Languages and look forward to what Siobhan Fallon writes next.