For my first trick, I've stolen the name of my first blog post! Thanks Cheryl! She and I both recently read You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, and my kitchen was partially destroyed by a ruptured pipe in during the intense but short-lived Snowpocalypse 2011. That happened last Wednesday (the night before Thanksgiving), and today the contractors came and took out about 85% of our kitchen cabinets and cutting a 2-foot high section out of one of the walls in our living room. Our landlords have said that it will be roughly 4-6 weeks before we have new cabinets, "but you can help pick them out!"
You Know When the Men Are Gone is a collection of linked short stories about living at Fort Hood, Texas, primarily focused on the wives of soldiers living on post while their husbands are deployed in Iraq. I read the whole book in a day and thoroughly enjoyed it. In a way it reminds me of Sherman Alexie's book The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, providing a window into a community and experience through linked short stories, where some characters turn up in more than one story. A few are set in Iraq, but they deal primarily with the soldiers' relationships with those they've left behind and why the transition back to civilian life can be so difficult.