You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon
Published by: Amy Einhorn Books
Published on: January 2011
Page Count: 240
Genre: Short Stories
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased with a credit for Audible.com.
Audiobook Published by: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Audiobook Length: 5 hours 50 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook
Through a series of eight loosely interconnected short stories, Siobhan Fallon character by character and story by story pieces together a portrait of life at Fort Hood during a time at war.
When this book debuted, it seemed like everyone was discussing it. The hype was huge and overwhelmingly positive. It would have been difficult not to want to read it. As I’m not a person who regularly reads short stories, knowing that You Know When the Men Are Gone wasn’t a novel held me back. I may have never experienced this fantastic book were it not for audiobooks. Here’s the thing about audiobooks: they continually entice me to explore literature outside of my comfort zone. When my credits renewed and I saw it featured on Audible.com and narrated by Cassandra Campbell, I didn’t hesitate to add it to my cart.
My first Cassandra Campbell audiobook was The Help. I loved her voice, even though I thought everything about Minny stole that entire experience. In You Know When the Men Are Gone, she really had the opportunity to shine big. She not only took on the pain, fear and loneliness of the young wives and mothers living at Fort Hood while their husbands are deployed. The men who are stationed in Iraq or have returned home have their own hopes and anxieties. With them, Campbell is equally at home in the narration. I found that she gave each story its own life. I hope that this audiobook receives an Audie nomination.
While I never forgot You Know When the Men Are Gone was a collection of short stories, I didn’t really care. I found what was left unsaid or unknown in one story gave me the opportunity to imagine what the rest of life was like for that character. I was also ready to get to know another character.
Very quickly, Amy Einhorn Books is becoming a go-to imprint for incredible and varied reading experiences. With good reason. Thus far I’ve read and loved The Help, Bad Things Happen, The Summer of Louisa May Alcott and, be still my heart, The House of Tomorrow. That The Postmistress was my least favorite read thus far says a great deal. You Know When the Men Are Gone is near the top of those great reads. I highly, highly recommend this imprint, this narrator, this book and its exceptionally talented author, Siobhan Fallon.