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You Know When the Men Are Gone
Cover of You Know When the Men Are Gone
You Know When the Men Are Gone
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"Gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories about American soldiers and their families. . . simple, tough, and true."—The New York Times
"Prose that's brave and honest."—People
"Terrific. . . and terrifically illuminating."The Washington Post

An award-winning story collection from the author of The Confusion of Languages.
Through fiction of dazzling skill and astonishing emotional force, Siobhan Fallon welcomes readers into the American army base at Fort Hood, Texas, where U.S. soldiers prepare to fight, and where their families are left to cope after the men are gone. They'll meet a wife who discovers unsettling secrets when she hacks into her husband's email, and a teenager who disappears as her mother fights cancer. There is the foreign born wife who has tongues wagging over her late hours, and the military intelligence officer who plans a covert mission against his own home.
Powerful, singular, and unforgettable, these stories will resonate deeply with readers and mark the debut of a talent of tremendous note.
"Gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories about American soldiers and their families. . . simple, tough, and true."—The New York Times
"Prose that's brave and honest."—People
"Terrific. . . and terrifically illuminating."The Washington Post

An award-winning story collection from the author of The Confusion of Languages.
Through fiction of dazzling skill and astonishing emotional force, Siobhan Fallon welcomes readers into the American army base at Fort Hood, Texas, where U.S. soldiers prepare to fight, and where their families are left to cope after the men are gone. They'll meet a wife who discovers unsettling secrets when she hacks into her husband's email, and a teenager who disappears as her mother fights cancer. There is the foreign born wife who has tongues wagging over her late hours, and the military intelligence officer who plans a covert mission against his own home.
Powerful, singular, and unforgettable, these stories will resonate deeply with readers and mark the debut of a talent of tremendous note.
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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 11, 2010
    The crucial role of military wives becomes clear in Fallon's powerful, resonant debut collection, where the women are linked by absence and a pervading fear that they'll become war widows. In the title story, a war bride from Serbia finds she can't cope with the loneliness and her outsider status, and chooses her own way out. The wife in "Inside the Break" realizes that she can't confront her husband's probable infidelity with a female soldier in Iraq; as in other stories, there's a gap between what she can imagine and what she can bear to know. In "Remission," a cancer patient waiting on the results of a crucial test is devastated by the behavior of her teenage daughter, and while the trials of adolescence are universal, this story is particularized by the unique tensions between military parents and children. One of the strongest stories, "You Survived the War, Now Survive the Homecoming," attests to the chasm separating men who can't speak about the atrocities they've experienced and their wives, who've lived with their own terrible burdens. Fallon writes with both grit and grace: her depiction of military life is enlivened by telling details, from the early morning sound of boots stomping down the stairs to the large sign that tallies automobile fatalities of troops returned from Iraq. Significant both as war stories and love stories, this collection certifies Fallon as an indisputable talent.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2010

    In an accomplished debut story collection, Fallon lays bare the lonely lives of military families when the men go to war.

    In these eight loosely connected tales, the families of Fort Hood, Texas, wait for their men to come home. That waiting, filled with anxiety, boredom and sometimes resentment, creates a Godot-like existence, in which real life begins only when a soldier's deployment ends. In the title story, young Meg, her husband in Iraq, becomes obsessed with her neighbor Natalya, a glamorous Serbian with little English and two babies, doubly isolated in Fort Hood. Meg presses her ear to their shared wall and eventually hears the voice of a strange man. In "The Last Stand," a soldier returns from Iraq permanently injured, to a wife tired of the strains of army life. She brings him to a hotel and then buys him breakfast before notifying him of their imminent divorce, their marriage a casualty of the war. In "Leave," Officer Nick Cash suspects his wife is cheating on him. On his scheduled leave home from Iraq, he tells his wife he has to stay at the front, but then secretly returns to Fort Hood, breaks into the basement of his own house and hides there for a week, waiting for the truth with a knife in his hand. In "Camp Liberty," the only story to take place largely in Iraq, David Mogeson, an investment banker who joined up after 9/11, befriends Raneen, a female interpreter. Back home on leave, he is bored by his longtime girlfriend and overwhelmed by a lifestyle of privilege, but when he returns to Iraq (and fantasies of building something with Raneen), he discovers she's been kidnapped, an all-too-common fate for interpreters. Fallon reveals the mostly hidden world of life on base for military families, and offers a powerful, unsentimental portrait of America at war.

    A fresh look at the Iraq war as it plays out on the domestic front.

    (COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 15, 2010

    Fallon's accomplished debut short story collection offers a glimpse into a world few civilians will ever experience: Fort Hood, TX. Fort Hood is a place where husbands and fathers pack their gear and leave for deployments of a year or longer. Left behind are the families, and each of the eight stories describes a different spouse or family coping with such a prolonged absence. The wife and mother with breast cancer, the teenage bride, the young mother, the Serbian wife who speaks little English--each deals with the stress and loneliness of her husband's deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan in her own way. Some isolate themselves, choosing to live off base or move back in with their families. Others embrace the company and support of other army wives and attend Family Readiness Group meetings. This might be a work of fiction, but Fallon's work is remarkably real, and each story's characters immediately grip the reader. VERDICT Excellent; even readers who do not usually read short stories should seek out this book.--Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA

    Copyright 2010 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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You Know When the Men Are Gone
You Know When the Men Are Gone
Siobhan Fallon
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