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January 5, 2011 / Leslie

Review: You Know When The Men Are Gone

You Know When The Men Are GoneYou Know When The Men Are Gone
by Siobhan Fallon

Genre: Women’s Literature
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Publish Date: January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover | 240 pages
Rating: 5 of 5

You Know When The Men Are Gone is a beautifully written slender volume of short stories centering around the wives of deployed soldiers based at Ft. Hood, Texas. The stories are loosely related involving different families and different situations, but with a common thread running through each of them that highlights the emotional drain of having a spouse deployed in Iraq and away for a year.

Sometimes depressing, sometimes sad and occasionally humorous, all are written with the compassion and knowledge of someone who has been there. These are not war stories; there is no political agenda. It is a window into the lives of our military families, opened for a brief moment, giving us a glimpse of their world. Some have children, some do not, others are newly wed and barely know each other while others know each other only too well. All are moving tales and all will make you think.

I read this book quickly and then I wanted more. The author has a wonderful writing style with smoothly flowing words and quickly developed characters. It was easy to feel their emotions: loneliness, pain, obsession, suspicion, distrust. Many of the stories deal with infidelity and how difficult it is to be separated from a spouse.

Most of the stories are told from the point of view of the wives. Several are told by the men. Leave is one of the stories told by a husband who is suspicious that his wife is cheating on him. He plots and plans a way to find out the truth and carries his plan out as if it were a military mission. I found this one to be particularly haunting and powerful and am still thinking about it now. He gets his answers but we are left to wonder what he does with the information.

This is a wonderful book, a compelling look into the personal relationships of the men and women in the military, and I highly recommend it.

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.
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing for review.
CymLowellI participate in Book Review Party Wednesday. Click the link to read more great reviews.



Leave a Comment
  1. Rebecca Rasmussen / Jan 5 2011 8:16 am

    Yay! I am so glad you liked it! I’m going to make sure Siobhan sees this review 🙂 xoxox


  2. Suko / Jan 5 2011 10:56 am

    Leslie, great review! This sounds like a collection of short stories that I would enjoy reading.


  3. bermudaonion / Jan 5 2011 2:07 pm

    Wow, this sounds like a very relevant book. I look forward to reading it.


  4. Meg / Jan 5 2011 2:20 pm

    So glad to hear you loved this one — I have a copy waiting to be read! Sounds like a lovely, poignant book, and I’m looking forward to checking it out… especially since I haven’t read any short stories for a while!


  5. Elizabeth / Jan 5 2011 9:40 pm

    I am reading this book now…it is very interesting…excellent author. Your review is wonderful.



  6. Beth F / Jan 6 2011 6:07 am

    I’m reading this in the next couple of weeks — I’ll come back to read your review.


  7. siobhan fallon / Jan 6 2011 10:25 am

    Thank you for the lovely review- I really appreciate your insight!
    I hope your readers enjoy the stories.
    Thanks again,


  8. Alex George / Jan 6 2011 1:51 pm

    I’ve read this wonderful collection of stories and loved every page of it. Like you, I wanted to read more and was sorry when the book was finished – all too soon. She writes beautifully, with a piercing clarity. Her stories shine a dazzling, unfamiliar light on something which I think we all imagine we might know something about. And isn’t that what the best fiction should do? Can’t recommend it highly enough!


  9. TheBookGirl / Jan 7 2011 11:33 am

    This sounds like a wonderful book; I am not much of a short story reader, but the fact that the stories are interconnected is appealing to me. I’m off to take a second look at this one.
    Thanks for the great review 🙂


  10. MarthaE / Jan 11 2011 9:39 pm

    This certainly sounds different. Not all happy but it sounds “real.”


  11. Julie @ Knitting and Sundries / Jan 11 2011 9:39 pm

    I love short stories, especially well-written ones; the kind that I can start in that short period of time between when my son goes to sleep and when I have to go to sleep – this sounds like one for my shelves! Thanks for the review!


  12. Elizabeth / Jan 12 2011 2:12 pm

    I read this also…good book.

    Stopping by from Cym’s Book Review Party.




  1. Farewell 2011 « Under My Apple Tree

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