A stunning debut novel which tells the haunting story of a single mother and her son, a member of the US Special Operations Forces. Unexpected, tautly written and suspenseful, it touches on some of the most profound questions we have about war.
'An extraordinary accomplishment...' - Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
'A compelling story made memorable by the strength of its elegant prose...' Toni Morrison
'Think HOMELAND in fiction form...' - Red Magazine
Eleven Days is, at its heart, the story of a mother and a son.
It begins in May 2011, when Sara's son Jason has been missing for nine days in the aftermath of a special operations forces mission. Out of devotion to him, Sara has made herself knowledgeable about things military, but she knows nothing more about her son's disappearance than the press corps camped out in her driveway.
In a series of flashbacks we learn about Jason's absentee father - a man who died, according to 'insiders', helping to make the country safer - and Jason's decision to join the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis after 9/11. There he entered the toughest military training program in the world - for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare's SEAL Teams.
Through Jason's letters written to his mother during his training, we see him becoming a strong, compassionate leader. But his fate will be determined by events that fall outside the sphere of his training, and far outside the strong embrace of his mother's love.
As well as a moving picture of the bond between a mother and a son, this is a unique look into the training, history and culture of one of the world's elite forces. Page-turning and haunting, this is an astonishing debut which questions the very nature of sacrifice and love.
Lea Carpenter's Eleven Days is an extraordinary accomplishment. Written with an elegant precision, this book is at its core a story about love: between a mother and a son, a son and a father, and a special group of men for each other and the imperfect country they choose to serve. I highly recommend it. - Kevin Powers, bestselling author of The Yellow Birds
...full of insight and grace. - Sydney Morning Herald
...good writing and a great story. - Weekend Australian
...a beautifully written debut. - Herald Sun Melbourne
[An] earnest first novel ... Carpenter provides a convincing portrait of an exclusive and exclusively male military subculture, and of the men formed and deformed by it. - The New York Times
Carpenter's intelligence and sincerity find powerful expression in the novel's sophisticated structure... This story reminds us that each of these warriors, no matter how brave and tough and deadly, is still some woman's beloved son. - The Washington Post
The nature of courage, sacrifice, love and heroism are all considered in this powerful ... debut. For all its Hollywood sheen, it is as determined to educate as it is to entertain. It's a mission that Lea Carpenter executes coolly in precise and elegant prose. - The Daily Mail
...somber yet moving... an ode to manhood, to motherhood, to the modern warrior and perhaps most compelling an ode to heroics. - Huffington Post
Lea Carpenter graduated summa cum laude phi beta kappa from Princeton and has an MBA from Harvard. She was one of the original editors at Francis Ford Coppola's literary magazine, Zoetrope, and later served as Deputy Publisher for The Paris Review.
She lives in New York with her husband and their two sons. She has served in various capacities at the New York Public Library for over fifteen years, where she assists with new programming initiatives.
This is her first novel.