Snippets from books

In Ford Hood housing, like all army housing, you get used to hearing through the walls.  You learn your neighbors’ routines: when and if they gargle and brush their teeth; how often they go to the bathroom or shower; whether they snore or cry themselves to sleep.  You learn too much.  And you learn to move quietly through your own small domain.

You also know when the men are gone.  No more boots stomping above, no more football games turned up too high, and, best of all, no more front doors slamming before dawn as they trudge out for their early formation, sneakers on metal stairs, cars starting, shouts to the windows above to throw down their gloves on cold desert mornings.  Babies still cry, telephone ring, Saturday morning cartoons screech, but without the men, there is a sense of muted silence, a sense of muted life.

In the Author’s Note of the book, Siobhan Fallon writes that she  “began writing You Know When the Men Are Gone in Fort Hood, Texas, when my husband had just returned from his second deployment and was gearing up to deploy again.  In 2006, soldiers deployed for a year or more, and spouses were grateful if their soldiers were home for an entire twelve months before heading back to the Middle East.  So as much as I cherished having my husband safe and next to me, sharing a life together again, I was always aware of the fact that he was not going to be home for long.”

Why Siobhan Fallon writes


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