Carry the One begins in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidentally hits and kills a girl on a dark country road. For the next twenty-five years, those involved, including Carmen and her brother and sister, craft their lives in response to this single tragic moment. As one character says, “When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.” 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. As they seek redemption through addiction, social justice, and art, Anshaw’s characters reflect our deepest pain and longings, our joys, and our transcendent moments of understanding. This wise, wry, and erotically charged novel derives its power and appeal from the author’s exquisite use of language; her sympathy for her recognizable, very flawed characters; and her persuasive belief in the transforming forces of time and love.
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.
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Carry the One
Loved this book! One of the best I've read in quite some time. I will miss these characters and remember them for a long while. It was refreshing to read a story that is so real and raw with no easy answers or unbelievable solutions. Can't wait to read something else by her.
Carry the One
I wanted to like this book but the characters never seemed real to me. The descriptions were just words on the page. Can I get my money back? (rhetorical question)