By Lea Carpenter
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2014'SUPERB' - SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE, LONDON EVENING STANDARD BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2013'EXTRAORDINARY' - KEVIN POWERS, AUTHOR OF THE YELLOW BIRDS'THINK HOMELAND IN FICTION FORM...' - RED'AN EXTRAORDINARILY GIFTED WRITER' - MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NEW YORK TIMESEleven Days is, at its heart, the story of a mother and a son.It begins in May 2011: 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 and enter into the toughest military training in the world: for the U.S. Naval Special Warfare's Navy SEAL Teams. Through letters Jason wrote his mother while 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 touching 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.