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The Confusion of Languages

A novel by

A searing debut novel from the award-winning author of You Know When the Men Are Gone, about jealousy, the unpredictable path of friendship, and the secrets kept in marriage, all set within the US expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring.

Both Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw dutifully followed their soldier husbands to the US 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 listeners 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.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"This gripping personal tale of a friendship gone wrong brings our larger political blunders, blindness, and naivete in the Middle East to light." - Laura Harrington

"A gripping, cleverly plotted novel with surprising bite. Fallon carefully builds the cloistered world of two Army spouses living in the Middle East during the Arab Spring, a world whose edges and limitations we only start to glimpse as the two women spiral toward tragedy." - Phil Klay

"Mesmerizing and devastating. I found myself ignoring everything but the countdown of Jordanian hours and the unraveling mystery central to Fallon's unforgettable novel, in which two military wives must explore a modern-day, cultural labyrinth. An insatiable read that will leave you breathless." - Sarah McCoy

"I love Siobhan Fallon's writing about military families. It's a world that may be unfamiliar to civilians, but Fallon delivers it brilliantly, charting its strict hierarchies, emotional complexities and fierce loyalties. Her new novel, A Confusion of Languages, chronicles a collision between two couples deployed in Jordan, raising questions of cultural sensitivity, social obligations, and military responsibilities, as well as the fundamental ones about the bonds of marriage. Fallon has a strong, lucid voice, and she explores these marital/military partnerships with the intelligence and deep compassion they deserve." - Roxana Robinson

"Once I started reading this novel, I did not want to put it down. The Confusion of Languages is 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, Siobhan Fallon's newest novel is as entertaining as it is insightful. Book clubs will find endless fodder for debate and speculation. The moment I finished, I wanted to run to my friends and talk about this book all night." - Andria Williams

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