About the book: (from the publisher) 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.
With achingly honest prose and riveting characters, The Confusion of Languages plunges readers into a shattering collision between two women and two worlds, affirming Siobhan Fallon as a powerful voice in American fiction and a storyteller not to be missed.
About the author: Siobhan Fallon is the author of You Know When the Men Are Gone, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction, the Indies Choice Honor Award, and the Texas Institute of Letters Award for First Fiction. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Military Spouse, The Huffington Post, and NPR’s Morning Edition, among others. She and her family moved to Jordan in 2011, and they currently live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Genre: Fiction/General/Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Book ClubFascinating women's fiction provides an insider's glimpse into modern-day Jordan @SiobhanMFallon Click To Tweet
My take: In The Confusion of Languages, Siobhan Fallon delivers finely tuned details that are at once exotic and familiar. Hers is an utterly gripping novel that prompted in me an almost morbid “can’t look away” fascination as the author provided a peek into the lives of two American women who cross each other’s orbits with shattering consequences. It’s an originally devised story, cleverly plotted and powerfully executed.
Fallon pulled off a difficult feat by making the narrative characters — two women with significant flaws rendering them rather unappealing (one more so than the other) — people I nonetheless wanted to stick with. Perhaps it was again that almost morbid, magnetic draw: I had to know how their stories would resolve.
A dozen times I wondered, Where on earth is this going? Mere pages from the end I thought, This cannot possibly end well. And it didn’t. Yet it did. Miraculously, beauty pulled from the brokenness. A presentation of redemption and hope I did not anticipate.
I wasn’t sure right up until the last pages whether I was going to like this book. I was fascinated by it from the start, drawn to it — absolutely, every page along the way. But actually like it? I didn’t know. In the end, however, I did like this book. Very much indeed. Definitely recommended, especially as a book club selection. A most thought-provoking read.
Just so you know: Some profanity and adult themes
Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons for providing me this book free of charge. All opinions are mine.
After words: What are you reading for book club these days?