Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You know when the men are gone by Siobhan Fallon

I don't often finish a collection of short stories.  I tend to finish one story, feel satisfied, and then move onto something else.  The storytelling in this fine new collection of home front war tales was so even and so captivating that I really wanted to read every one.

All of the tales (save one) in this collection are set at Fort Hood in Texas and all relate to the men who deploy to Iraq and their spouses who wait for them back home.   All the subjects are universal:  infidelity, grief, childhood, teen rebellion, and of course, divorce, and they are set uniquely against the back drop of the people who are left behind when men go to war.

I thoroughly enjoyed this look at a culture and customs that evolve around this interesting group of people.  What unique circumstances threw these people together and how do they make sense of all the craziness? The stories are very loosely connected by a character here and there, so you know that all the characters are part of the same big picture story.

As a writer, I am always looking for new ways to tell some universal themes, and I felt that Ms Fallon mined some clever ideas.  My only regret is that this was not longer.  I know from a life well lived, that for each of these perfectly rendered stories of chaos in the time of war, there are are at least 1,000 more.  I hope there are more, many many more.  This would make a great spring break read.

This book should be readily available at your local public library or, of course, on Amazon.

1 comment:

Steph said...

It's a compelling cover.