- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (June 27, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399158928
- ISBN-13: 978-0399158926
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Confusion of Languages Hardcover – June 27, 2017
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"Explores friendships, parenting, and the civilian/military divide. . . . The more we can shrink the yawning chasm between families’ experiences, the better for us all." —The Washington Post
“An incisive examination of friendship and betrayal and a skillful mingling of cultural and domestic themes.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A gripping, cleverly plotted novel with surprising bite.”—Phil Klay, author of Redeployment
“Mesmerizing and devastating. . . Two military wives must explore a modern-day, cultural labyrinth. An insatiable read that will leave you breathless.”—Sarah McCoy, author of The Mapmaker's Children
"Fallon’s fast-paced, compelling story doesn’t sacrifice nuance or sensitivity . . . Piercing and precise." —Florida Times-Union
“[T]hese women...are honest and well-formed characters . . . Page-turning and rich in detail, this is a solid, insightful debut.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Cerebral but still taut with suspense . . . this novel's sophisticated pacing and emotional core set it apart from the pack.”—ShelfAwareness
"Touching. . . . A moving work about desire and the dislocation one might experience in a foreign land." —BookPage
“Fallon's novel has the irresistible force of a whirlpool.”—David Abrams, author of Fobbit
“This gripping personal tale of a friendship gone wrong brings our larger political blunders, blindness, and naiveté in the Middle East to light.”—Laura Harrington, author of Alice Bliss
“The world of military families may be unfamiliar to civilians, but Fallon writes about it brilliantly, charting its strict hierarchies, emotional complexities, and fierce loyalties with the intelligence and deep compassion they deserve.” —Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta
"Both a page-turning mystery and a riveting character study in the vein of Henry James or Patricia Highsmith. Tense, intriguing, smart, witty, set in an exotic locale, and full of barbed insights into the nature of friendship and marriage. ”—Andria Williams, author of The Longest Night
"Fallon’s ability to see into the living rooms, kitchens, and bars of Americans buffeted by their country’s wars makes her one of the most important observers of the American present.”—Matti Friedman, author of Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story
“Evocative of the film Babel, The Confusion of Languages is layered, rich with meaning, and compelling right up to a final sentence so right and perfect that it resonates long after closing the book.”—Elizabeth Marro, author of Casualties
“Fallon writes with authority and grace, and her characters are so compelling and complex.”—Emily Jeanne Miller, author of The News from the End of the World
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.
Top customer reviews
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very informative as well as a great story I also like the way it was presented Kept you on your toes
Fallon brings her personal perspective to the plot - two wives of military officers stationed in Amman, Jordan. Fallon shares this worldly experience herself, travelling with her own husband. So the dynamics of family tension no doubt have their roots in truth - especially how one character willfully does not want to fit into the conservative mindset of Jordan.
The literary conceit is a first-person account of one woman reading the journal of another woman. So the perspective alternates between the "real time," and the "past" reflected in information revealed in the journal. That works pretty well early on - but as the book continues the journal reads less like a journal would, and more like a first-person novel. I don't think people use italics in their personal journals, So, I mean, it works and it's a good way to have hidden information revealed, but you have to suspend belief a little bit.
There are a variety of conflicts between the characters, and Fallon does a good job of deftly revealing secrets along the way - at no point did these revelations give me a "oh, come on" feeling. I was more like "ah, of course." Which I liked, and I think these reveals all worked.
The ending did not. It's really tough to stick a landing in a book like this - and this one was a letdown. But, it did not in any way ruin the book - I understood the choice, but I felt like somewhere an editor had an idea that somehow got latched onto. It didn't fit for me. Whatever - a lot of times in these sorts of personal thriller-type books I wish for a different ending, so it's not that big a deal.
The strength of the book is in the twisty relationships between the two women main characters, and they are strongly portrayed and have three full dimensions. I like flawed main characters - and boy howdy, it's that in spades - and the way their flaws come out is, again, well done.
Good story, good characters, and a well-done portrayal of trying to navigate relationships and also a foreign land. Strong work by Fallon. I liked her short stories already, and she has written a very good novel.
When their husbands are sent to Rome on an assignment, they tell Cassie to keep an eye on Margaret. When there is a vendor bender accident, Margaret goes to report her accident to the police, while Cassie stays back to watch Mather. As the hours pass, and Margaret has not returned, Cassie becomes worried, and contacts Crick to have the embassy find her. While waiting, she comes across Margaret’s diary and we learn more about her life, as well as what Margaret has been doing during her stay in Jordan. Margaret, being her careless self, will befriend some Jordanian people, which will cause problems for all, as the Jordanian rules do not allow for this.
What follows is an interesting and somewhat complex storyline of two women so different, yet thrown together in a dangerous and different environment. The two main protagonists, Cassie & Margaret were to me not really likable. Cassie, being lonely and taught to follow rules came across as sarcastic at times. Margaret was a bit too flighty and not responsible. There were some surprises and twists along the way, which did help the story line.
The Confusion of Languages was a different type of read for me. I thought it was interesting, but not sure I would read this type of book again. Though I will say that the writing of Siobhan Fallon was very well done, and I did read that she has experienced military life abroad. If you enjoy these types of stories, you can’t go wrong with this book, especially so well written by Fallon.
Most recent customer reviews
This book will make you think beyond reading.