Carry the One
Carry the One
Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781451656930, 253pp.
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
“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.
“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.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“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.”—People magazine, 4 stars
“If you love Jonathan Franzen, you’ll love this compelling book.”—Entertainment Weekly (Bullseye)
“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.”—USA Today
“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.”—Sylvia Brownrigg, The New York Times Book Review
“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.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s “All Things Considered”
“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.”—Chicago Tribune
“A brilliant feat of storytelling . . . one of the most intensely vibrant novels I've ever read. . . . This book is that kind of pearl."—Susan Straight, The Boston Globe
“Compulsively readable . . . subtle and seductive . . . a novel with the sweep of a family saga and the compressed gleam of a short story.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Provocative . . . her style is dead-on. What makes this a good book is the way the characters change and interact over time.”—Dallas Morning News