Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Confusion of Languages: Debut novel by Siobhan Fallon

Greetings!  I hope everyone is having a good day.  Emerson Knight and Riley Moon are back in Janet Evanovich's Dangerous Minds. Wayan Bagus' island has disappeared and he wants it back. Emerson loves nothing better than an odd and improbable mystery. Emerson enlists the help of Riley Moon and his cousin, Vernon to find the missing island. Pick up a copy of Dangerous Minds to join in on the adventure.

The Confusion of Languages is a debut novel by Siobhan Fallon. Cassie Hugo’s husband, Dan is a soldier assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Jordan.  Dan signed them up to sponsor the Brickshaw family (Crick, Margaret and their son, Mather) without consulting her.  Cassie is hoping that Margaret will be a friend, but she has reservations because of their son, Mather.  Dan and Cassie have been trying to get pregnant for nine years without success and it has strained their marriage.  Cassie explains the rules for women to Margaret (how to act, dress, etc.), but Margaret seems to pay little attention.  She is more interested in exploring the city and immersing herself into the culture (breaking many rules along the way).   One afternoon Margaret and Cassie are out driving when they are in an auto accident.  Margaret needs to go to the police department to pay a fee, but first she returns home.  She asks Cassie to watch Mather for her while she is gone.  As the hours pass, Cassie gets bored.  She finds Margaret’s journal and starts reading it.  What Cassie reads makes her concerned for Margaret and guilty.  Margaret has not answered her phone, and she never arrived at the police department.  Where is Margaret?  To discover what led to Margaret’s disappearance, pick up The Confusion of Languages.

The Confusion of Languages was a dissatisfying novel (for me).  The story starts in the present and then goes back to when the Brickshaw’s arrived in Jordan.  It then keeps going back and forth in time (as Cassie reads Margaret’s journal).  I found it disconcerting.  The book is written in the first person which did not help (Margaret and Cassie’s perspectives).  The book started out good, but then the pace slowed down considerably when Cassie started reading Margaret’s journal entries.  The story does get more interesting toward the end after Cassie has finished reading the journal (if you make it that far).  The Confusion of Languages has two women who are very different (of course).   Margaret wanted to be friendly with the locals (a rule breaker) and Cassie was suspicious of them (a rigid rule follower).  The author shows readers what women are thinking and feeling as well as exploring female relationships (which always seem to be explosive).   The story seemed to be building up to some big revelation, but it was a huge disappointment.  The ending was unoriginal and expected.  I found the characters (Cassie, Margaret, Crick, Mather, Saleh) to be unpleasant.  I really disliked the scenes with Mather (he cried and screamed all the time as well as running rampant making messes and destroying things while leaving disorder in his wake).  I was surprised the embassy had not shipped the husbands back to the states based on their wives’ behavior. I give The Confusion of Languages 1 out of 5 stars.  We can see how an individual’s make judgements about people that can cloud a situation or relationship. You do not know what goes on in someone else’s life.  They suffer from insecurities and doubts too.  The book does contain an extreme amount foul language.  The Confusion of Languages shows the importance of behaving or following the rules when we are in other countries (especially in the Middle East).  We may not like or understand the laws or regulations, but not following them can harm innocent people. The Confusion of Languages was not a pleasant book to read (at least for me).  The Confusion of Languages will be published on June 27.

As you can probably tell, I had trouble writing this review.  You would not believe how many times I rewrote it.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart on Friday. It is the final book in A Death on Demand Mystery series.   I am off to finish reading Light of Dawn by Vannetta Chapman and then finish installing a light for my mother.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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