You Know When the Men Are Gone

By Siobhan Fallon
(Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399157202, 240pp.)

Publication Date: January 20, 2011

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2012 Reading Group
“Surprising, get-under-your-skin characters populate the spare landscape of Fort Hood, Texas, in this collection of linked stories that will have a compelling effect on even the most skeptical reader. Fallon opens a window into military base life from the perspective of the quiet supporters -- spouses, children and injured vets - who stay home when the men deploy. A riveting debut!”
-- Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2011 Indie Next List


Description

Reminiscent of Raymond Carver and Tim O'Brien, an unforgettable collection of intercollected short stories.

In Fort Hood housing, like all army housing, you get used to hearing through the walls... You learn too much. And you learn to move quietly through your own small domain. You also know when the men are gone. No more boots stomping above, no more football games turned up too high, and, best of all, no more front doors slamming before dawn as they trudge out for their early formation, sneakers on metal stairs, cars starting, shouts to the windows above to throw them down their gloves on cold desert mornings. Babies still cry, telephones ring, Saturday morning cartoons screech, but without the men, there is a sense of muted silence, a sense of muted life.

There is an army of women waiting for their men to return in Fort Hood, Texas. Through a series of loosely interconnected stories, Siobhan Fallon takes readers onto the base, inside the homes, into the marriages and families-intimate places not seen in newspaper articles or politicians' speeches.

When you leave Fort Hood, the sign above the gate warns, You've Survived the War, Now Survive the Homecoming. It is eerily prescient.




About the Author

Siobhan Fallon lived at Fort Hood while her husband, an Army major, was deployed to Iraq for two tours of duty. She earned her MFA at the New School in New York City. She lives with her family near the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA.




NPR
Monday, May 30, 2011

Some of the best summers are those filled with journeys, reunions and good food รข?? three themes that factor prominently in the books recommended by our independent booksellers. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011

Debut author Siobhan Fallon writes about the lives of soldiers and their families in her new short story collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone. Families, she says, take the strangeness of deployment and learn how to create a new normal. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. In the first story, You Know When the Men Are Gone, why do you think the narrator develops such an obsession with her neighbor?  While it turns out Natalya was worthy of Meg’s scrutiny, do you think it was easier to literally be a nosy neighbor than for Meg to focus on the danger her husband faced overseas




Praise For You Know When the Men Are Gone

"There is the war we know—from Hollywood and CNN, about dirt-smeared soldiers disarming IEDs and roaring along in Humvees and kicking down the doors of terrorist hideouts—and then there is the battleground at home depicted by breakout author Siobhan Fallon, an army wife with a neglected, deeply important perspective and a staggering arsenal of talent, her sentences popping like small arm fire, her stories scaring a gasp out of you like tracer rounds burning in the night sky over your home town."
– Benjamin Percy, author of The Wilding, Refresh, Refresh, and The Language of Elk



"What a fascinating, rare glimpse into the domesticity of war. This is a wonderful debut. Each beautifully rendered story is braced with intelligence and wisdom."
– Jill Ciment

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