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.

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

  1. Mary says:

    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.

  2. Lloyd Russell says:

    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.

  3. BermudaOnion says:

    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!

  4. Leslie says:

    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.

  5. Sandy says:

    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.

  6. boardinginmyforties says:

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

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