“Gripping, straight-up, no-nonsense stories about American soldiers and their families. . . simple, tough, and true.”—The New York Times
“Prose that's brave and honest.”—People
“Terrific. . . and terrifically illuminating.”—The Washington Post
An award-winning story collection from the author of The Confusion of Languages.
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 talent of tremendous note.
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.
You know when the men are gone
This is a great read from the inside of army life, very insightful straight from the heart, I hated for it to end.
Good quick read
I enjoyed reading this and thought it gave great insight into the lives of families that make great sacrifices for our country. Kind of a strange way to layout a book though... Would have liked more closure, which I guess means I liked it.
So very moving
Except for two uncles who served in WW II, I've not had any family in the service since the Civil War. These moving stories gave me a a view of what these incredible service families endure for our country. I am truly humbled by their sacrifices and will recommend this book to all my friends. The accumulation of stories is so much more powerful than one story following just one family could be. I not only appreciate the author's skill, I thank her for writing this book. You have done a great service for those of us who are just civilians. E. Lawrence