Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “You Know When the Men Are Gone” as Want to Read:
You Know When the Men Are Gone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

You Know When the Men Are Gone

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,562 Ratings  ·  875 Reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, Reprint Edition, 240 pages
Published January 20th 2011 by NAL (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about You Know When the Men Are Gone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about You Know When the Men Are Gone

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Yeah, the smart ass in me wants to say, "You know when the men are gone because battery sales go through the roof." BUT, that would be a great injustice to this terrific book of stories about life for those serving in and "married to" the US military. From a soldier counting the days until he can get the hell out of Iraq, to the women who simply wait for a loved one's safe return, Fallon has captured the wide range of emotions and temptations faced by those in this unique situation.

How difficul
Evanston Public  Library
Here is the fan mail I sent to Siobhan Fallon:

Dear Siobhan Fallon, Yesterday I read your book. Today, in between the depressing news in the New York Times and the trivial news in the Chicago Tribune, I read it again. I've already recommended it to four people and will recommend it to many more (I'm a librarian, however, so don't get too excited about sales). The stories are so simple and so powerful. I was awake a good part of last night thinking about them. The characters are real and haunting
Will Byrnes
Jul 30, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Set in Fort Hood, Texas, Siobhan Fallon’s eight stories revolve around the separation between military men posted in Iraq and their loved ones back home. These are powerful, moving stories. Every day the women left behind wonder if this is the day they get the worst possible news, and fear as well that their men are unfaithful abroad. The men in combat constantly worry about whether they will have families to return to, and sometimes they wonder if they want to return to the families or relation ...more
Nov 10, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think I'd like this collection of stories. I feel so strongly against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have mixed feelings about the soldiers who fight there. But Siobhan's stories are beautifully written, full of complexity and humanity. I still feel the same way about the military, but I'm very glad I read these stories, and had the opportunity to hang out with these women and men for a few days.
I wish I had better feelings about this story. I wanted to like it, and I think that the writer's ability is evident, but these stories all felt very "surface" to me. Yes, they talk about the emotions of the wives, the emotions of the men deployed, but they never felt like they pushed anything. Pardon the non-literary reference, but if this were American Idol, Simon Cowell would call all these stories quite safe. I'm not sure how this was possible, but this woman wrote an entire collection of st ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-crafted collection of short stories about soldiers and their wives back at Fort Hood. The stories are threaded together, but not in a distracting or forced way. I would have welcomed twice as many stories to have more time with these characters.

Ms. Fallon's spare and devastating stories show us people losing each other, losing limbs, losing their lives and more than that, shows us how hard it is to live at all when you wake up every morning fearing loss in a way that blots out virtually
Timothy Bazzett
Feb 28, 2012 Timothy Bazzett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I closed the book after reading the last story in You Know When the Men Are Gone, I couldn't help thinking that you also know when an important new talent has emerged on the literary scene. Because Siobhan Fallon simply blew me away with these eight interrelated pieces which detail with a near surgical precision exactly what it is like - how it feels - to be part of the all-volunteer army that continues to fight our so-called "war on terror" thousands of miles away on the other side of our ev ...more
Melissa Rochelle
I can admit to being unsure about this book. I didn't think I would be able to connect with any of the stories because I'm not the wife of anyone, much less the wife of a soldier. However, I was hooked after the first story. Beautifully written, with many voices and viewpoints. It provides a glimpse into the lives of our soldiers and their families and allows the reader to understand (even if just as an outsider) the sacrifices the soldiers AND their wives make to protect our country.
Rebecca Rasmussen
Sep 14, 2010 Rebecca Rasmussen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 tha ...more
Tara Chevrestt
The author has done a superb job of capturing military life, both from the POV of spouses waiting at home and the soldier's risking their lives everyday in combat. Also brings to light the difficulties soldier's face trying re adjust to life back at home. For full review:
switterbug (Betsey)
In this terse and bold book of eight interconnected stories featuring Fort Hood army wives, breakout author Siobhan Fallon invites readers to peek through the hazy base-house curtains into largely uncharted territory. She offers an intimate glimpse of the spouses and children left behind to cope when the men in the infantry battalion of 1-7 Cav are deployed to Iraq.

We've seen media pictures proffering the stalwart strength and Mona Lisa smiles of army wives, but we haven't been host to their pri
Mar 24, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Years ago, William Tecumseh Sherman famously said, “War is hell.” Certainly, there has been an incredible canon of war literature that has focused on soldiers fighting on the battlefield and facing tough homecomings. But, to my knowledge, there has been no book that has powerfully shone the spotlight on the families – non-enlistees who experience “small and fragile” moments.

That void has just been masterfully filled. In a haunting and downright electrifying debut, Sioban Fallon takes us to Fort
Mar 17, 2011 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This book had amazing reviews, stunning to the point I fully expected this to be one of the best books I’ve read in years. This is a format (linked short stories) that, when done right, I love. Furthermore, as these stories involve military families stationed at Ft. Hood, I expected the tales to be both evocative and unique. While I completely admire the women who keep it together when husbands are deployed (nothing short of heroic), these stories fell flat. The characters are so formulaic and I ...more
Alex Templeton
This collection features stories about the citizens of Fort Hood, Texas--in particular, the wives waiting for their husbands to come home from year-long deployments to Iraq. While I definitely felt that I got a window into a completely different way of life from my own (and all my best wishes are sent to the real-life counterparts of these story characters), I went away from this collection feeling more of an emotional connection to the condition the characters were in rather than the characters ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These related short stories depict Army life from the eyes of (mostly) the women left at home. Some of the marriages were hastily put together prior to deployment or quickly assembled to wives met while on deployment, others are well established relationships, all emphasize how hard it is to be apart so often and for so long as the war in the Middle East continues on. Fallon illustrates how hard it is to miss out on the day to day, the ordinary, whether that concerns raising the children, the lo ...more
Matthew J. Hefti
This book is an incredible work of art in its own right, but You Know When the Men Are Gone should be mandatory reading for all active duty soldiers. As those who deploy and return and deploy and return, we often pay lip service to those on the home front, but our understanding of the struggles of our wives and families back home are often far too superficial to have any value. This book illuminates the very real struggles and hardships endured by loved ones, without whom those in uniform would ...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
A glimpse of military life in Fort Hood...dedicated women waiting patiently and fearfully for dedicated men to return, and dedicated men and women wondering what it will be like when they do return.

Will things be the way they were before, will it take a while to get back to the routine before separation, or will what they had be completely gone? Unless you have been there, you never know what others endure and what feelings grow or get lost when there is an extended period of absence from a love
Mikey B.
May 18, 2013 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A very strong series of poignant stories, on for the most part, military wives who are left alone as their husbands go off to war. The style is minimalist and very character driven. I feel the author has a strong feeling of the reality of raising and coping with children. She reveals well how these women cope and struggle with their long absent mates. None of them are perfect and are never quite in balance with their positive and negative forces.

We are revealed the different “tribal” interaction
Dec 05, 2010 Sharyl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seldom do I finish a book in one or two sittings, but I did so with You Know When the Men Are Gone, by Siobhan Fallon.

These eight short stories depict the lives of the soldiers and the left behind wives of Fort Hood, Texas. The wives have various ways of dealing with the stress, worry, and pressure of keeping their families together by themselves, while their husbands dream of coming home and live for that phone call.

Fort Hood is a world within itself, and the families circle together closely,
This set of eight short stories focuses on the absence of a partner who is away at war. The absence itself is both a lack and a constant presence in the lives of their loved ones, and families cope (or don't) in different ways. Set mainly in the community of Fort Hood among the loved ones left behind, these stories shine light on an aspect of American life that is both very contemporary and very eternal.

I really enjoyed this book. I sat down with it and found myself completely absorbed, to the
Mar 23, 2012 skein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star, 2012, e-book
A dreamy half-lost gaze of a story collection - really, a novel broken into pieces. It dragged at me and pulled me under. I dreamt myself into that world -- it is our shared world, the world of soldiers gone from home and weapons and bombings -- but not my world, not my reality.

Some fragments were more solid than others. The interpreter. The man at the window. The injured foot. Meg. All of this happening simultaneously and still within its own time, as one holds memory; it is no surprise that th
Jun 30, 2012 CJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A somewhat disjointed, but still interesting slice of life look at being a military wife. Spot on with loads of the details - I'm a military wife although my husband is not full time - then again, these days, there isn't a whole lot of difference between active duty and reserve soldiers. The book was accurate enough that it was tough to read; military families face challenges other families don't, and there's a higher rate of divorce among military families for readily apparent reasons. There's ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Apr 06, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-june-2011
Siobhan Fallon spent years at Fort Hood while her husband served in Iraq, and her stories feel deeply authentic—to the point where one reviewer was left near tears. Never preachy or one-dimensional, Fallon instead creates sympathetic, flawed characters caught up in an impossible situation. Ultimately, critics hailed Fallon as a promising new voice who delivers “poignant, sometimes crude, and consistently compelling insights” (Boston Globe) into the lives of our servicemen and the families they l ...more
Violet Althouse
Dec 05, 2010 Violet Althouse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the way this author writes. She makes the most mundane aspects of her characters lives seem so vivid that it is easy to be sympathetic to all of them. There are no wasted words. Everything she writes counts for something. You don't get the feeling that she was adding filler anywhere. As for the subject matter: I cried several times as I was reading this book. Its hard to imagine what the lives of these people would be like without knowing someone who has gone through this personally. Fall ...more

Hauntingly real. Authentically felt.

Five Exemplary Stars!!!!!

"[T]he tears streaming . . . mascara pooling under their eyes, noses running. It was fine to look this horrible now that the men were too far away to see their faces, fine to finally grieve messy and ugly . . . They cried now as much for themselves and the lonely year ahead as they did for the men heading off to the dangers of war." - FALLON, SIOBHAN. "Inside the Break." You Know When the Men Are Gone."

Anthologies can be hit-or-miss.
Dec 22, 2010 Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely amazing short story collection. As a spouse who has dealt with two deployments and multitudes of other times when the guys are "away", I could identify with this book. I have suggested it to my Army-wife friends.

It is not a feel-good, we are all happy-happy Army wives book. It is brutal in some parts, hope-filled in others, and everywhere it is honest.
Malena Watrous
There were a couple of stories in this collection that I liked a lot. The first one, about a Russian woman at Fort Bragg who neglects her kids and generally fails to conform to the army wife model, is quite good. I also liked the creepy one about the returned soldier lurking in his basement, spying on his wife and peeing in bottles. In general, I found this to be a very readable book, and I liked the window into army life--especially that of spouses of male soldiers--that it provided. I wished t ...more
Jan 05, 2011 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: womens-fiction
You Know When The Men Are Gone is a beautifully written slender volume of short stories centering around the wives of deployed soldiers based at Ft. Hood, Texas. The stories are loosely related involving different families and different situations, but with a common thread running through each of them that highlights the emotional drain of having a spouse deployed in Iraq and away for a year.

Sometimes depressing, sometimes sad and occasionally humorous, all are written with the compassion and kn
switterbug (Betsey)
In this terse and bold book of eight interconnected stories featuring Fort Hood army wives, breakout author Siobhan Fallon invites readers to peek through the hazy base-house curtains into largely uncharted territory. She offers an intimate glimpse of the spouses and children left behind to cope when the men in the fictional infantry battalion of 1-7 Cav are deployed to Iraq.

We've seen media pictures proffering the stalwart strength and Mona Lisa smiles of army wives, but we haven't been host to
Jim Thomsen
I can't say I was overly impressed by this short story collection. Each tale was written in the spare, strangely arid, carefully airbrushed style (over linear storytelling substance) that fairly screams "MFA student." And sure enough, I found as I skimmed the back cover, Fallon holds an MFA. The writing pleases the Carver fellators among the New York literati. And it provides authenticity junkies with an ample dose of literary methamphetamine, since the writer has clearly lived among the people ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Travelers Rest
  • A Million Wishes (Wishes, #1)
  • Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox
  • Wingshooters
  • Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War
  • This Is Not Your City
  • Moonshell Beach (Shelter Bay, #4)
  • Promise Me
  • The Girls Come Marching Home: Stories of Women Warriors Returning from the War in Iraq
  • Peppermint Creek Inn (Undercover, #1)
  • Prayer at Rumayla: A Novel of the Gulf War
  • Safe from the Sea
  • I Knew You'd Be Lovely
  • Volt
  • Kisses to Remember
  • Death Is Not an Option
  • Sparta
  • Dance Lessons

Siobhan Fallon's You Know When the Men Are Gone, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam:
"The explosive sort of literary triumph that appears only every few years" New York Journal of Books
"...gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories" The New York Times
"...searing collection" Entertainment Weekly's Must List
"...a terrific and terrifically illuminating book" The Washington Post
"...fascinating" O, The Oprah Mag
More about Siobhan Fallon...

Share This Book

“After a dazed moment, Specialist Kit Murphy put his arms loosely around her, and Josie Schaeffer clung to him, knowing this man was not her husband, that her husband was never coming back, but for now she was as close to him as she could get and she would not let him go.” 1 likes
“I said I don't want to know," Kailani said firmly, her voice suddenly too loud. Cristina sat back into the bench, her eyes wide and disappointed. Then Ana started waving wildly, her small hand arcing for her mother's undivided attention, and, as Kailani watched in silence, the child slipped safely down the slide."

Kailani to Cristina”
More quotes…