In You Know When the Men Are Gone
, debut author Siobhan Fallon vividly shows readers the human cost of the current conflict in Iraq, both on the front lines and, just as poignantly, on the home front. Fallon, who lived at Fort Hood while her husband completed two tours of duty, writes with authority and authentic emotion about the challenges and conflicts facing soldiers and the families they leave behind.
In the title story, Meg, a soldier's wife who has resisted pressure to have children because she dreads the thought of raising babies alone while her husband is deployed, becomes fixated on her new next-door neighbor, a beautiful Serbian immigrant whose troubling personal history and cavalier attitude toward parenting both frighten and fascinate Meg.
In "Camp Liberty," Sergeant David Mogeson, a former investment banker who...
Beyond the Book
If you've never been on a military base, you might be surprised, upon reading You Know When the Men Are Gone,
at just how extensive Fort Hood, Texas, is. It's a small city unto itself, complete with all the services and conveniences that mean its residents never really have to leave if they don't want to. As Siobhan Fallon illustrates in her novel, different inhabitants have different reasons for embracing Fort Hood's insularity - or rejecting it.
Here are some quick facts about Fort Hood, the place Siobhan Fallon's characters call home, whether they like it or not:
Area: 340 square miles (by comparison, Manhattan Island is 23 square miles)
Date Permanently Established: 1951