The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Hmm…. How do I feel about this book? I have to really think about that. It was a good book, but I guess what makes me rate is lower is that I did not like any of the main characters.

Cassie, while appropriately cautious about the culture and the military rules, is bitter about a lot of things in her life and almost seeks to bring Margaret down at times. A horrible personality flaw, but one that rings truthful, especially in military circles. Women can be vicious. How she acts toward her own husband, and with Margaret’s husband is also troubling. Her holier-than-thou attitude, even when she was technically correct, made me want to slap her.

Margaret is a little bit more likable and sympathetic of a character. Her naiveté is sometimes annoying. Almost like she knows better but acts clueless sometimes. She does not properly understand the implication of her actions, even when they get her into significant trouble the first time.

Both men are also flawed and have flawed interactions with their wives. Sad, but again often the case in military marriages.

Overwhelmingly, these characters felt like their story was written in a vacuum. There was minimal interaction with other characters on base. Possibly just because the story was focused on them, but it felt a little off. Usually on a base, there are way too many people up in your business. In this book, it felt like the Hugos and Brickshaws were on a military base on the moon and there were no other military spouses around. It was portrayed that Cassie felt alienated because she didn’t have any children, but all of it felt oddly disconnected. Even in a scene where a base party was thrown, there was minimal discussion of the other guests.

Ultimately, I think my relationship with this book feels like Cassie’s feelings toward Margaret. They would not have normally been friends, but due to a sense of military obligation you do your duty. You may not entirely like the other person, but you do want to help them out. At the end, I just wished that I had liked the book a little more. It was well done, but just didn’t capture me the way I really wanted it to.

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