You Know When the Men Are Gone

You Know When the Men Are Gone

Written by:

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780451234391
  • 256 Pages
  • G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  • Adult


“Gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories about American soldiers and their families . . . simple, tough, and true.” – The New York Times

“Fascinating.” -- O, the Oprah Magazine

Through fiction of dazzling skill and astonishing emotional force, Siobhan Fallon welcomes readers into the American army base at Fort Hood, Texas, where U.S. soldiers prepare to fight, and where their families are left to cope after the men are gone. They’ll meet a wife who discovers unsettling secrets when she hacks into her husband’s email, and a teenager who disappears as her mother fights cancer. There is the foreign born wife who has tongues wagging over her late hours, and the military intelligence officer who plans a covert mission against his own home.

Powerful, singular, and unforgettable, these stories will resonate deeply with readers and mark the debut of a new talent of tremendous note.

You Know When the Men Are Gone

You Know When the Men Are Gone

Written by: Siobhan Fallon


PEN/USA Literary Award – winner


“The explosive sort of literary triumph tthat appears only every few years. As such, it should not be missed.” – New York Journal of Books

“Fascinating.” O, the Oprah Magazine

“Gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories about American soldiers and their families . . . simple, tough, and true.” – The New York Times

“Poignant . . . compelling . . . likely to inform and move many readers.” — The Boston Globe

“Poingnant . . . prose that’s brave and honest.” — People

“Each of Fallon’s stories leaves the reader wanting more . . . compulsively readable and memorable, stories of unsung courage displayed by characters hard to forget.” – The Denver Post

“Lovely and wrenching . . . vivid and elegant . . . a compassionate yet unflinching portrait of the mdoern-day home front.” – Los Angeles Times

“Terrific . . . and terrifically illuminating.” – The Washington Post

“Each story’s characters immediately grip the reader.” Library Journal (starred review)

“[A] powerful, resonant debut collection.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In this poignant and beautiful collection of linked stories, Siobhan Fallon has created a world of characters we need to know.  These are our wounded, our courageous, our disheartened, our cynical and our brave.  You won’t read these stories on the front pages of the newspaper, but still they feel like a news flash about the emotional toll of war.  You Know When the Men Are Gone delivers to us the inner lives of families who fight for our country while fighting their own deepest fears and demons.  This is a brave and illuminating book.” — Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
“Siobhan Fallon is a remarkable debut author whose first collection of short stories, You Know When the Men Are Gone, signals the debut of a new American talent.  I was drawn into a world I had never seen before, and found heartache, courage, and laughter there.”
– Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation
“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, author of The Tattoo Artist
“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
“Siobhan Fallon’s You Know When the Men are Gone is a haunting elegy to those who bear the real burden when our nation goes to war: the spouses and children left behind. She writes with the authority of hard-earned experience, and this collection of stories has much to teach us all.”
—Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
“A brilliant work of fiction that speaks a haunting truth on every page. This is an important work that should be embraced by the military community and beyond.”
—Tanya Biank, Author of Army Wives, the basis for the Lifetime TV drama Army Wives
“You Know When the Men Are Gone is a stunning debut. Fallon’s prose is spare and clean and beautiful, but it is her characters that will leave you breathless. They are all so alive and real, different in many ways, but strung together by a bright thread of common experience. This is a devastating book, and beautiful. Devastatingly beautiful.”
—Michael David Lukas, author of The Oracle of Stamboul
“In You Know When the Men Are Gone, Siobhan Fallon writes with grace and intelligence about the army wives at Fort Hood who are waiting for their men to return from Iraq. Fallon follows the lives of women with children, women with cancer, women who can’t bear another night of sleeping alone between flypaper walls. Some of Fallon’s women find courage in the others left behind, some take comfort in a past without war — in their memories, their Hawaii’s, their first true loves. All have a sense that real life stops the moment the men board the busses and leave Fort Hood. You Know When the Men Are Gone is a poignant debut, written with the kind of love and detailed accuracy that can only come from living behind the barbed wire at Fort Hood, as Siobhan Fallon has. You’ll laugh with her characters and you’ll cry with them. Like them, you’ll try to add up what it’s all worth. You Know When the Men Are Gone is funny, sad, wise, and essential. Turn off the news and pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed.” —Rebecca Rasmussen, author of The Bird Sisters

Siobhan Fallon’s You Know When the Men Are Gone helps close the cultural gap in understanding between military families and civilians. These stories hold a mirror up to the lives of servicemembers and their spouses, and because the tales are beautifully and sensitively told, they spur conversations that Americans need to engage in. As a military spouse, I am grateful for a book that tells it like it is. As a reader, I appreciate the fine writing and keen insights. Anyone who has ever wondered how and why military families endure separations during wartime should read this important and timely book. —Alison Buckholtz, author of STANDING BY: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY IN A TIME OF WAR