Melissa Maerz
June 07, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Eleven Days

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lea Carpenter
publisher
Knopf
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Novels such as Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and The Yellow Birds have sparked a new wave of Iraq-war fiction that wrestles with the U.S.’s place in the Middle East. Carpenter’s stark debut, Eleven Days, takes a wide lens to that conflict, focusing as much on the people left at home as it does on the soldiers. It opens on May 2, 2011, the night of the bin Laden raid, as bohemian mom Sara waits to hear the fate of her missing Navy SEAL son, Jason. Written in simple but stirring prose, it’s an elegant meditation on the love between a mother and son whose worldviews changed forever after 9/11, in very different ways. B+

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