Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, breaking my ban on short stories

You Know When the Men Are GoneYou Know When the Men Are Gone. Finished 3-19-13, rating 4.5/5, fiction short stories, 226 pages, pub. 2011

I read this because it was on JoAnn’s year end favorite list in December and I had it on my shelf.  I don’t often read short stories, so how this one ended up in my library is a mystery, but I’m so glad that it did and even happier that JoAnn loved and recommended it.  This may mean more short story collections in my future.

The stories-

1.You Know When the Men Are Gone, a married woman who is awaiting the homecoming of her husband feels drawn to life of her neighbor and children. My least favorite.

2. Camp Liberty, probably my favorite, the story of a deployed soldier who has a hard time reconciling life back home with the one he is living in Iraq.

3. Remission, a mom’s two kids go missing on base.

4. Inside the Break, a wife discovers her husband’s infidelity while he’s deployed.

5. The Last Stand, this one is a heartbreaker. A soldier returns home after being wounded in Iraq and spending months recovering at Walter Reed.

6. Leave, creepy story of a soldier sneaking home on leave to see if his wife is cheating.

7. You Survived the War, Now Survive the Homecoming, a new mom dealing with her husband’s ager after returning home.

8. Gold Star, a widower’s life on base after her husband is killed.

These stories are a gritty look, at the reality of what most of us will never have to face.  Although I finished this book with a heavy heart  I thought it was a book full if incredible insight.  I gained a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices of the enlisted men and their families.  Fallon speaks from experience and her concise writing engaged me.  Surprsingly, I loved this one.

March 21, 2013 - Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books |


  1. I already have a collection of short stories on my 2013 Favorites list so I’m happy to add this to my TBR list. I haven’t had much luck with them in the past but I *want* to like them. Your review gives me hope that I’ll enjoy Fallon’s collection.

    Comment by Mary | March 21, 2013 | Reply

    • I always ‘want’ to like them too but they never usually hold my interest enough. This one did 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. I’m not much of a short story reader, but these sound interesting. I have recently read 2 books that largely dealt with soldiers in Afghanistan. One of them, Minefields of the Heart, by Sue Diaz, was written by the mother of one of the soldiers. And the other, The Long Walk, by Brian Castner, was written by a soldier who had 3 tours of duty in Afghanistan. He talks about his life there and the adjustment to being back home. They were both very heavy.

    Comment by Lloyd Russell | March 21, 2013 | Reply

    • The good thing about this collection, for me, was that it was heavy, but only in small doses. Which is about all I’m willing to tackle right now.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  3. My dad was in the military so I knew what it’s like in a military family and, from my experience, I thought this book gave an accurate portrayal. I know it’s different when you’re a spouse,though. I thought this story collection was fantastic!

    Comment by BermudaOnion | March 21, 2013 | Reply

  4. I, too, am normally not a short story gal, but did make an exception this with one.

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | March 21, 2013 | Reply

  5. I enjoy short stories if they are done right, ie give me enough information so the story makes sense. I especially like when the author ties the stories together through a common thread or repeating characters. This collection was fantastic and one of my favorites.

    Comment by Leslie | March 21, 2013 | Reply

  6. I’m so happy you liked these stories, Stacy! Can’t wait to read whatever Fallon writes next 🙂

    Comment by lakesidemusing | March 21, 2013 | Reply

  7. I don’t remember if this book made my top reads of the year but I loved it and gave it five stars. I listened to the audio, which was narrated by Cassandra Campbell who is one of my favorite voices ever. She is incredible. The book was definitely sobering but so full of grace.

    Comment by Sandy | March 21, 2013 | Reply

    • It’s nice to see this getting so much love 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  8. I rated this collection a 3.75/5 (good +), but have a higher memory of it. I think the negativity of the stories (heavy heart as you mentioned) must have influenced my rating.

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | March 23, 2013 | Reply

    • That happens to me too. I remember a book more fondly than I rated it!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  9. Excellent review of this one! I have it on my list to read too because of JoAnn’s awesome review. Glad you loved it so much and was surprised at your own reaction!!! 🙂

    Comment by Staci@LifeintheThumb | March 24, 2013 | Reply

  10. I am beginning to appreciate short stories more and more, and this sounds like a collection I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing Stacy

    Comment by Diane@BibliophilebytheSea | March 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Given how much time I have to read I should make more of an effort to read short stories!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  11. If you loved it, I know that I’m going to have to read this one at some point. I was offered a review copy a long while back, and now I’m kicking myself for not having taken it. 😉

    Comment by Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) | March 25, 2013 | Reply

    • Ah, yes, if I loved it you surely will, LOL 🙂

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  12. I don’t always do well with short story collections but this one sounds interesting. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Comment by boardinginmyforties | March 27, 2013 | Reply

    • SS aren’t my favorites either but this one was worth it.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  13. I’m not a short story person, but this one sounds emotionally gut wrenching. I always feel for soldiers and their families.

    Comment by jennygirl | March 28, 2013 | Reply

    • Me too. I almost felt like I was doing a service to them by reading it and becoming more aware. We all need to be reminded of their sacrifice more often.

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

  14. I had this on my TBR list too and couldn’t remember why. I’ll have to keep it on there.

    Comment by Jenners | March 28, 2013 | Reply

    • Yes. And then you’ll have to come back to blogging!!

      Comment by stacybuckeye | April 2, 2013 | Reply

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