Hailed as “beautifully observed” (The New York Times) and “a brilliant feat of storytelling” (The Boston Globe), Carol Anshaw’s New York Times bestselling novel is one of the most acclaimed books of the year.
“When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.”
Following a devastating moment in the hours after Carmen’s wedding, three siblings and their friends move through the next twenty-five years under its long shadow. Through friendships and love affairs; marriage and divorce; parenthood, holidays, and the modest calamities and triumphs of ordinary days, Carry the One shows how one life affects another, and how those who thrive and those who self-destruct are closer to each other than we’d expect. Whether they take refuge in art, drugs, social justice, or love, Carol Anshaw’s characters are sympathetic, funny, and uncannily familiar as they reflect back to us our deepest pain and longings, our joys, and our transcendent moments of understanding.
The one that must be carried when the Kenney siblings add themselves up is the girl who was hit and killed when Nick and Alice were driving home, stoned and stupid, from their sister Carmen's wedding. That's the first chapter: the rest of the novel and the rest of their lives sex and drugs and prison visits, family parties and divorce, raising teenagers, painting, politics, and addiction play out with that guilt and loss forever in the background. Anshaw has a deft touch with the events of ordinary life, giving them heft and meaning without being ponderous. As the siblings' lives skip across time, Carmen's marriage, shadowed by the accident, falls apart; painter Alice's career moves forward unlike her life, as she remains stuck on the same woman, her former sister-in-law; and astronomer Nick fights, with decreasing success, his craving for drugs. Funny, touching, knowing about painting and parents from hell, about small letdowns and second marriages, the parking lots where people go to score, and most of all, about the ways siblings shape and share our lives Anshaw (Seven Moves) makes it look effortless. Don't be fooled: this book is a quiet, lovely, genuine accomplishment.
Carry the One
Poignant and thoughtful account of how an accidental death can irreversibly alter the lives of those involved. How each one reconciles with themselves and the world their guilt and responsibility. Many times I found myself re-reading the lines to gather and enjoy their depth and intuitiveness.
Carry the One
I swam in these characters, so well drawn. This book is a velvet hammer.