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You Know When the Men Are Goneby Siobhan Fallon
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"This might be a work of fiction, but Fallon's work is remarkably real, and each story's characters immediately grip the reader....Excellent; even readers who do not usually read short stories should seek out this book." Library Journal (starred review)
"[A]n accomplished debut story collection....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." Kirkus Reviews
"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
An army of women waits for its men to return in Fort Hood, Texas. Through a series of loosely interconnected stories, Fallon takes readers onto the base, inside the homes, into the marriages and families.
An explosive new voice in fiction emerges from Iraq in this blistering debut by perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive” (The Guardian)
The first major literary work about the Iraq War from an Iraqi perspective, The Corpse Exhibition shows us the war as we have never seen it before. Here is a world not only of soldiers and assassins, hostages and car bombers, refugees and terrorists, but also of madmen and prophets, angels and djinni, sorcerers and spirits. Blending shocking realism with flights of fantasy, Hassan Blasim offers us a pageant of horrors, as haunting as the photos of Abu Ghraib and as difficult to look away from, but shot through with a gallows humor that yields an unflinching comedy of the macabre. Gripping and hallucinatory, this is a new kind of storytelling forged in the crucible of war.
A blistering debut that does for the Iraqi perspective on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan what Phil Klays Redeployment does for the American perspective
The first major literary work about the Iraq War from an Iraqi perspective—by an explosive new voice hailed as perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive” (The Guardian)—The Corpse Exhibition shows us the war as we have never seen it before. Here is a world not only of soldiers and assassins, hostages and car bombers, refugees and terrorists, but also of madmen and prophets, angels and djinni, sorcerers and spirits.
Blending shocking realism with flights of fantasy, The Corpse Exhibition offers us a pageant of horrors, as haunting as the photos of Abu Ghraib and as difficult to look away from, but shot through with a gallows humor that yields an unflinching comedy of the macabre. Gripping and hallucinatory, this is a new kind of storytelling forged in the crucible of war.
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. Fallon lives with her family near the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.
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