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Reader’s Den

Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter: Questions for Discussion


When the novel Eleven Days opens, all we know is that Sara’s son Jason is a Navy SEAL who has been missing for nine days.

As the story unfolds we learn some things about Jason and Sara’s family.  David, Jason’s father, was older than Sara and left the family soon after Jason was born.  He was a government operative working overseas and he allegedly died when Jason was very young.  We also learn that Jason’s decision to join the military after 9/11 was a surprising, if not unwelcome one, to Sara.  There are vivid descriptions of Jason’s training and his missions.  

Yet the tone remains mysterious.  There’s the godfather who is never named.  There are the sketchy details about Jason’s final mission and the evasive answers to Sara's questions during  her journey to see Jason once he's been found.

  • What other aspects of the novel build tension and keep the suspense going?
  • What role does mythology play in the novel?
  • Jason’s interaction with David is fascinating.  Do you think Jason knew who he was?  Why didn’t David reveal his identity?

When the novel ended I felt no more satisfied in terms of knowing anything than when the novel began.  Maybe that’s because for me there are no definitive answers when it comes to war and sacrifice.  However, Sara’s observation that Jason would have liked being buried in the spring filled me less with sadness and more with hopefulness.

It was coincidence that I chose to read Eleven Days for May’s edition of the Readers Den, yet fitting in light of Memorial Day.

Check out Open Road’s video of authors discussing what made them write about war experiences.

Here are some other war fiction titles on my “for later” shelf.

Thanks for reading!


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