Available June 27th: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon
****5/5 stars- loved it and stayed up all night reading literary fiction
An intimate look into the lives of two very different American women living abroad amid the Arab Spring, with shattering consequences.
- If you like suspenseful literary fiction,
- if you are interested in the expat experience in the Middle East,
- and if You Know When the Men Are Gone got under your skin, this one is for you.
- Here’s my Rankings:
- 5/5 for characters
- 5/5 for plot
- 5/5 overall
REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:
Siobhan Fallon’s first novel, follow-up to her brilliant short story collection You Know When the Men are Gone, is foremost about troubled relationships: between two cultures, among and between two couples, and between two vastly different women thrown together by their circumstances as army wives abroad in the Middle East amid the Arab Spring (triple threat.) An army wife herself, Fallon clearly understands well the extreme and unlikely relationships founded out of necessity. In fact, the magic of Fallon’s writing here is to confront you with two generally unlikeable characters who don’t even appear to like each other, and then make you care desperately about what happens to them– in literary fiction.
Margaret Brickshaw, a pert and pretty mother eager to discover new cultures, and Cassie Hugo, upright and barren, are as different as night and day, but forge a cautious connection over the one thing they have in common: being far outside their comfort zone. But while Margaret seeks to learn and embrace, often at the expense of local custom, Cassie strives to separate and judge and do things the Right Way. When Margaret disappears for hours after the ubiquitous minor Middle Eastern car accident, Cassie finds her diary, forcing her to confront the truth of their relationship, the height of Margaret’s fall from grace, and her own role in the whole affair. Here are two ways to be an expat, Fallon seems to tell us; don’t be either. The longer Margaret is away, the more you learn about both women, the higher the tension builds, the more desperate you become to discover what happens next. Fallon is moving you toward something with apparent skill and increasing speed, but what?
You’ll have to find out for yourself.