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.
The End of Your Life Book Club
By Will Schwalbe
'A wonderful book about wonderful books and mothers and sons and the enduring braid between them.' - Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays With Morrie'a true meditation on what books can do.' - Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber EyesMary Anne Schwalbe is waiting for her chemotherapy treatments when Will casually asks her what she's reading. The conversation they have grows into tradition: soon they are reading the same books so they can have something to talk about in the hospital waiting room. Their choices range from classic (Howards End) to popular (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), from fantastic (The Hobbit) to spiritual (Jon Kabat-Zinn), with many more in between. We hear their passion for reading and their love for each other in their intimate and searching discussions. The End of Your Life Book Club is a profoundly moving testament to the unconditional love between a child and parent, and the power of reading in our lives.