You Know When the Men Are Gone

Siobhan Fallon, Author
Siobhan Fallon, Putnam/Amy Einhorn, $23.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-399-15720-2
Reviewed on: 10/11/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-48614-6
Hardcover - 978-1-61173-019-7
Paperback - 226 pages - 978-0-451-23439-1
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4526-2038-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0038-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3038-0
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5038-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61587-950-2
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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.)
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