Jan 25, 2018

Book Review: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

The Confusion of Languages
Title: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
Published June 27, 2017, Putnam
Genre: contemporary fiction
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 5/5
A novel about jealousy, the unpredictable path of friendship, and the secrets kept in marriage, all set within the U.S. expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring. (publisher)

I really enjoyed this novel about the friendship and conflicts between two wives of American military personnel stationed in the Middle East during the Arab spring, with its uprisings and unrest. Besides describing the challenges of living in a new and mainly unfamiliar culture, the story focuses on two very different women, Cassie and Margaret, brought together by their husbands, Dan and Click's, military careers and by their need for friendship away from home.

Problems arise because the women have different backgrounds, personalities, and emotional needs. Their marriages are far from perfect and they both look for different things during their stay in Jordan. Cassie Hugo sticks to the rules of the embassy regarding travel safety and the ways women must be conservative in behavior and dress and in interacting with others, in particular men. Margaret Bradshaw, younger and more free spirited, disregards almost all the rules in wanting to experience the people and the culture in her own way. Cassie becomes upset and resentful when Margaret wants to branch out on her own to travel around the city and make friends with local people of all classes, relying on Cassie less and less and only to babysit her young toddler on occasion. This friendship comes to a head when something unexpected happens that creates serious conflict. Who, if anyone, is to blame?

The story was very interesting from a cultural point of view; it was also a revealing study in friendship that has some component of jealousy. Well written and engrossing, the book also left me appreciating some of the difficulties faced by families in the military living abroad.

Book beginning:
May 13, 2011
We are close, so close to Margaret's apartment, and I feel myself sink deeper into the passenger seat, relieved that I have succeeded in my small mission of getting Margaret out of her home, if only for a few hours. The day is a success. Sure, I had to let her drive something I usually avoid. Margaret is always too nervous, too chatty, looking around at the pedestrians forgetting to put on her signal, stomping on the brakes too late. But today I actually managed to snap her out of her sadness.I have done everything a good friend should.
Page 56:
Unlike me, Crick cannot tell a lie. For him, there is only one truth, and he tells it. 
Library book
Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader


Suko said...

This sounds like an intriguing novel. Cassie sounds like a thoughtful character. Thanks for the intro to this book!

Harvee said...

Yet Cassie may have precipitated something unfortunate for Margaret.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I am intrigued, because friendship between women is always fascinating...and so are expat communities.

Here's mine: “THE SIXTH WINDOW”

Kathy Martin said...

Sounds interesting but not something I would normally choose to read. This week I have Final Siege by Scarlett Cole. Happy reading!

Harvee said...

Yes, those two aspects of the book were riveting!

Harvee said...

I've been going out of my way to read books out of my normal genre and topic choices and have had a few good surprises so far.

Breana M. said...

I like the writing of the excerpts. Thanks for mentioning the book.

fredamans said...

Sounds like a wonderful read! Happy weekend!

Harvee said...

It becomes quite suspenseful towards the end.

Harvee said...

Happy weekend!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

Crick only knows one truth and he speaks it. I know people like that and hate talking to them!

Harvee said...

Some interesting characters here, Anne.

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