W S Krauss, May 10, 2014 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
After a wedding, a group of people in a car strike and kill a 10-year-old girl. This book is about grief and guilt and how it affects people in different ways. I enjoyed the writing, the characters, the humor and the way Anshaw brings leftist politics of the time period into the story. It also shows how tragedy can bring people together in a very lasting way, while others are torn apart by it.
elaineh, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by elaineh)
Loved this book! The 'drama' occurs in the first part of the book, and the remainder details the lives of everyone involved - how the spin out of control, the directions they take. It's a wonderful telling of the aftermath of a car accident/fatality.
elaineh, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by elaineh)
This book was a detailed view into the workings of a dysfunctional family and friends in the aftermath of a car accident and resulting death. Not particularly a 'happy ending' book, but a worthwhile read. The accident happens early on, and the book follows the evolution of the lives of the people involved. The characters are nicely developed and the plot is solid. Highly recommended!
Deborah Ramsey, August 9, 2012 (view all comments by Deborah Ramsey)
I really enjoyed this book. It shows how the actions of people many years ago can affect their lives years later. The book held my interest and I could barely put it down. Highly recomended!
janmah51, December 23, 2011 (view all comments by janmah51)
A group of twenty-year old friends and relatives leave a wedding reception, they are happy, a little high and somewhat drunk. They hit and kill a little girl crossing the road. The book follows the people through several decades. It shows how this event changed their lives and how each of them dealt with it.
This is beautifully written and the characters so real, you won't want to put it down. The end brought a tear to my eye and left me breathless.
I highly recommend it.
Simon & Schuster -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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. (March)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Emma Donoghue, author of Room,
“Here's passion and addiction, guilt and damage, all the beautiful mess of family life. Carry the One will lift readers off their feet and bear them along on its eloquent tide.”
by Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home,
“Reading this book, I felt like I was watching someone cross a tightrope with the same relaxed, assured stride they would use on solid ground. Anshaw is in such graceful command that her story about three gifted, wounded siblings almost doesn’t feel like fiction. The traumatic accident that derails the characters’ lives as young adults is a sort of echo of the childhood damage they’ve already lived through. The ways that they do and don’t survive this are variously tragic, stark, and beautiful, but always utterly convincing. Along the way, the generous Anshaw doles out psychological acuity, antic humor, cultural critique and profound wisdom as the merest casual asides. It can’t be as effortless as she makes it look, but it’s a pleasure to soar with her, for a while, on that high wire.”
by James McManus, author of Positively Fifth Street,
“Featuring Carol Anshaw's trademark warmth, wit and erotic subtlety, Carry the One is loopy and funny, sad and complex. Painterly, lifelike, it provides grownup pleasure.”
by Nicole Hollander, creator of “Sylvia”,
“It’s my birthday and the phone rings and I don’t want to answer because I am reading Carol Anshaw’s Carry the One, and how can reality compare?”
by Scott Spencer, author of Man in the Woods and Endless Love,
“This deceptively casual novel is both intimate and mysterious, frank and elusive, full of the stuff of life — love, lust, drugs, dogs, marriage, children, divorce, art, prisons, and politics — while haunted every shimmering page of the way by the death of a young girl, whose ghostly presence poses one of this novel’s compelling questions: how can we disentangle old knots when new ones are being tied with every passing day?”
by Kit Steinkellner, bookriot.com,
“A laser-focused, compulsively readable tale of chance and fate with a big brain, sharp tongue, and huge heart....This book is undeniably hip, but it’s not the hip of Urban Outfitters knit caps or fixed gear bicycles. Carry the One has its finger on the pulse of the...human condition. That’s what makes it hip with superpowers. That’s what makes it the platonic ideal of cool.”
“Anshaw has a way of writing that nails the psychology of humans. She explores the complicated relationships between men and women, sister and brother, mother and daughter, by breaking wide open inhibitions, those sticky boundaries that hold us back and that pesky fear business that keeps us hiding in our closets…It is intense, sweet, honest, and hopeful, all at the same time.”
by Publishers Weekly (boxed starred review),
"Anshaw has a deft touch with the events of ordinary life, giving them heft and meaning....Funny, touching, knowing...a quiet, lovely, genuine accomplishment."
by Library Journal,
“Anshaw deftly depicts family ties broken and reconnected, portraying the best and the worst of this group of eccentrics. Recommended for readers of well-crafted literary fiction.”
by Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review),
“Masterful in her authenticity, quicksilver dialogue, wise humor, and receptivity to mystery, Anshaw has created a deft and transfixing novel of fallibility and quiet glory.”
by Kirkus Reviews,
“Sharply observed and warmly understanding — another fine piece of work from this talented author.”
by Entertainment Weekly,
“Splendid...seductive...vivid....In sketches, landscapes, and erotic etchings, [Anshaw] carries not just one but all her characters through a quarter century of adulthood. And she makes the task look graceful.”
by Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times,
“Beautifully observed...[Anshaw] intimately dissects how one event or choice can alter the trajectory of a life, how a fork in the road can lead to wholly unexpected and divergent outcomes...a resonate 'Big Chill'-like look at how time affects relationships....Though the novel grapples with the many sadnesses of life...it does so with lyricism and humor....We are pulled along by [Anshaw's] uncommon ability to describe just about anything....As the years unfurl in this affecting novel, memories of the accident that took Casey Redman's life receed, but the fallout from that night has been internalized by everyone involved, invisibly shaping their outlook on the world, their feelings about love and responsibility and regret.”
by The Boston Globe,
“A brilliant feat of storytelling...one of the most intensely vibrant novels I've ever read....This book is that kind of pearl."
by Cleveland Plain Dealer,
“Compulsively readable...subtle and seductive...a novel with the sweep of a family saga and the compressed gleam of a short story.”
by Dallas Morning News,
“Provocative...her style is dead-on. What makes this a good book is the way the characters change and interact over time.”
“Even though the book explores the lives of the characters for more than two decades, the narrative is well paced — it is never too brisk nor does it get bogged down in wordy explanations. Anshaw deftly handles the passage of time, the interior lives of her compelling characters, and the specter of Casey’s death as they all move away from it and on with their lives. There is humor, sadness, heartbreak, intelligence and compassion here. It’s an outstanding and beautiful story of guilt, family, love, and both the healing and damage the years can bring.”
“Graceful and compassionate....Writing with rueful wit and a subtle understanding of the currents and passions that rule us, Anshaw demonstrates that struggling to do one's best, whatever the circumstances, makes for a life of consequence.”
by USA Today,
“Carol Anshaw is one of those authors who should be a household name (in literature-loving homes, anyway). There's a good chance that her latest novel, Carry the One, will make that happen...fine, eloquent.”
by The New York Times Book Review,
“Moving and engaging...funny, smart and closely observed...explores the way tragedy can follow hard on celebration, binding people together even more lastingly than passion....Anshaw gives readers the reward of paying close attention to ordinary people as [she] illuminates flawed, likeable characters with sympathy and truth.”
by Chicago Tribune,
“Although Anshaw has long been a literary milestone-maker, her pioneering is the least of her accomplishments. Anshaw is that rare, brilliant, witty writer whose prose is rich and buttery and whose plotting is as well-conceived and seamlessly executed as that of the most intricate thriller. Her psychological insights lend exceptional depth to her characters, who are so painfully and hilariously recognizable that we cannot turn from the familiarity of their circumstances and their flaws.”
by Entertainment Weekly,
“If you love Jonathan Franzen, you’ll love this compelling book.”
by Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered,
"Sentence by intelligent sentence, the novelist makes...us feel the remorse and joy and fears much more sharply than we can sometimes know those same emotions in the lives of our closest siblings or friends or even in ourselves....Carol Anshaw gets under the skin of her characters and under the reader's, as well.”
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 wed 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.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.