Carry the One: A Novel

Carry the One: A Novel

by Carol Anshaw

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451636895
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/06/2012
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 504,990
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Carol Anshaw is the author of Carry the One, Aquamarine, Seven Moves, and Lucky in the Corner. She has received the Ferro-Grumley Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. She lives in Chicago and Amsterdam.

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Carry the One 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
LBruin More than 1 year ago
Horrible book! I had high hopes for it, but it was so disjointed and I ended up not even caring about the characters. Don't even waste your $4.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carmen, Alice, and Nick are siblings who, together with some others to whom they are connected, must always "carry the one"--a ten-year-old girl who was hit and killed by a carful of stoned, drunk, or dazed guests to Carmen's wedding, driven by Nick's stoned wedding date, Olivia. Time forces the siblings, Olivia, and others connected to the tragedy to move forward, but the tragedy naturally effects their ability to do so. I really enjoyed this quietly powerful novel. I suppose one could just read it as just a story of what happens to these people on the surface, but I think the author is encouraging the reader to think about more complex themes. In particular, I think she is wrestling with the myriad ways in which we are connected to others, and the meaning of both a life, and those it touches. Each of us matters, to varying degrees, perhaps, and at different moments, to others, and I think this novel is gettting at the ways in which that truth is both thrilling, and frightening--as much as the opposite thought: that we might not matter at all. How do we live with that complexity, that mess, that rush, that warmth?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little disappointed in this book. I finished it but just because I wanted to see if anything interesting was going to happen after the great start. The premise was a good one but it felt disconnected- like there were too many separate stories going on that connected in some way but didn't feel connected. Some of the different story lines were boring and forced. It wasn't horrible, just blah. I wouldn't recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Moving and compassionate portrayal of difficult subject matter. The writing is exceptional.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How did this ever get published??? I have read bad books in my 68 years, but this may top the list!!! Do not waste time or $$$$$ on this one. I hate giving bad reviews but*******this deserves nothing more. Sorry!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very seldom start a novel that I do not finish.  This was one.  I would become distracted easily when reading and struggled following characters and time.   I stopped reading this after realizing I was not vested in the story after the first 100 pages or so.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was only about 150 pages. It seemed painfully longer. I did not think it would ever conclude. I was left feeling like I had missed something and why I had bothered in the first place. This book focused on three characters and the rest were like unused extras in a movie, left laying on the cutting room floor. The author must have never heard of the saying, " don't kiss and tell," because she rold everything about the main couple, who are lesbians. There is sex, death of a child, a cover up and the events caused by the accident follow the characters throufhout the rest of their lives. I thought this book was boring and insipid. Chick lit. I did not enjoy it at all. For adults. I hope other readers enjoy this book. I do not recommend it. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a book club selection. For me it was akin to watching the movie Leaving Las Vegas. It is okay to leave early, as staying for the ending did not enhance the experience. The format of the story telling, and story ultimately, was just not my cup of tea.
books4gail More than 1 year ago
I have read glowing reviews of Carry the One that don't match up to my experience of reading it. I was immediately captivated by the story and the writing but felt the tale devolved into disconnected bits. The difficult upbringing of the three siblings felt tacked on. By the end, the characters are relating to so many external things rather than the heart of the characters and their relationships. For example, Carmen sits through a tedious dinner party (with a couple we have never met) feeling superior to the hosts who are obsessed with the details of their kitchen renovation. I liked Alice the best and, contrary to another reviewer here, felt the lovemaking scenes with her female partners were written with warmth and urgency. Easy to see that that is the character closest to the author.
TFS93 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't like the way the story jumped around and moved between characters and stories. I found it extremely hard to follow. I found it very hard to like any of the characters. The book was SO depressing that it made me wish the characters would just end it all so I didn't have to read about their terrible, depressing lives anymore. I honestly could not recommend this story to anyone.This review is in reference to an Advance Reader's Edition of the book
Her_Royal_Orangeness on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How does one horrible incident redirect the trajectory of our lives? How is our character reshaped by tragedy? These are the questions that Carol Anshaw explores in ¿Carry the One,¿ a stunning novel about how a drunk driving incident influences the lives of the characters. The novel begins on the night of Matt and Carmen¿s wedding, when a car filled with sleepy and stoned wedding guests crashes into a young girl, Casey, on a dark country road. The girl dies instantly, and the specter of her memory haunts those involved in the accident. Alice, Carmen¿s sister, responds by fearing emotional commitment and drifts from relationship to relationship, including a volatile on-again-off-again affair with Maude, who was also in the car on the night of the crash. Alice is a painter who becomes increasingly well known in the art world as the story unfolds. Her best work, though, is portraits of Casey living the life she never had a chance to experience. These paintings torment Alice and she refuses to place them on exhibit. Withholding that which would bring her the most fame is her atonement for the girl¿s death. Carmen and Alice¿s brother Nick, whose girlfriend Olivia was driving, is tortured by guilt - he saw the girl but was too stoned to do anything to prevent the accident. He descends further and further into drug addiction and alcoholism. His guilt prevents him from allowing himself any form of happiness and he destroys a promising career in astronomy and his relationship with Olivia. And in his awkward junkie way, he tries to make amends to Casey's parents. Carmen¿s reaction to the accident is a compulsion to save the world; she is a militant social worker and a crusading political activist. But she is helpless to save those she most wants to rescue - her sister, her brother, and the young girl who died. ¿Carry the One¿ is subtle and understated, yet incredibly powerful. Anshaw knows just what to say and what to leave unsaid. The writing is compelling and beautiful. Every word, every phrase is perfect. The world the author creates becomes something real. The characters are complex and utterly believable. Their pain and their emotional battles are perfectly conveyed. I was completely captivated by this novel. Even after I¿ve finished, I feel the lingering presence of the characters, and my mind resounds with the questions Anshaw posed: why is my life what is it and what has made me who I am? Caution to potential readers: If you are at all homophobic, you will not be comfortable reading this book.
bdouglas97 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Thought this was very boring...sorry..following the lives of several people who were involved in a car accident where a young girl was killed...
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost feels like the reader is a voyeur peering on these characters lives. The writing is so smooth and the characters are two sister and a brother who are involved in a fatal accident which effects them in different way throughout their lives. We peer in on them in increments of several years, finding out where they are at, how they are facing their challenges. Actually quite structurally perfect and apparent simpleness of the novel is deceptive.
Donura1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
5 out of 5We all know that a single event can have a lifelong impact on us and may have a different impact on us as it does in others, however, Carol Anshaw has taken a single event and delved deeply into the impact it had a group of friends and family who experienced a single event that changed all of their lives.Carry The One, her latest novel, is sure to be a page turner for many this year. The skill that Ms. Anshaw has at taking the complexity of each character and blending them together, on top of, around, and under each other is masterful. As you wind your way through this story of two sisters, a brother, their extended families, you become a part of them, you wonder how the event would have affected you, and what long term effects it would have had on your life. Five people leave a wedding party after a long night of partying. They most certainly should have stayed but didn¿t, each for their own reasons. While driving down a lonely country road, they hit and kill a child who happens to be in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night.The secret is not the event, but the spell that is cast and holds you throughout the book to show how lives change or don¿t change, how they separate or come closer together. A wonderful, astute look at what life can hand you and what you choose to do with it or allow it to do to you.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This books follows the lives of a group of family and friends through 25 years, starting with a wedding and a drunken ride on a dark country lane that resulted in the death of a little girl. The "one" they all carry is the specter of that girl, the responsibility and guilt , and the book is the story of how that effected their lives. One becomes a fierce liberal activist, one becomes a famous painter who can't show her best work, another becomes an addict who is obsessed by the child's mother. Then there's the conflicted nurse turned model, the songwriter who finds his success tainted with the tragedy, and more. This is a group character study of the process of time, what it does to us, what we do with it, and how we (humans) deal with it. What really moves the book is the magnificent writing--very visual yet full of mystery and shadows. This book will make you think about consequences and choices in your own life even as the characters' lives unfold in front of you.
brooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished Carry The One nearly a month ago, but I've had a hard time trying to figure out how to write about it. It's well-crafted, beautifully written and nicely-paced. The characters are engaging and the story believable. I have a lot of really complementary things to say about Carry The One, but ultimately I didn't love it.Carry The One is a family drama that focuses primarily on three siblings: Carmen, Alice and Nick. The story begins after Carmen's wedding, when Nick, Alice and their friends and girlfriends load up in a car and go racing into the night. When they hit and kill a young girl, the guilt follows them for the rest of their lives. The story follows Alice, Carmen and Nick for the next 25 years as they fall in and out of love, live through failure and success and seem to find some kind of resolution in the end.This is a book about characters and this may sound strange, but I know it's a good book when I don't like one of the characters. I'm not talking about when a character does something irritating or is just kind of annoying, I'm talking about when a character is so fully-realized that I feel like I know them and I understand them. In Carry The One that character is Carmen. She's the kind of person that is never happy with what they have, never happy with the current state of the world, and never really appreciates all of the wonderful gifts in her life. She's a mother, a crusader and is supposed to be the sensible one of the bunch. She the least obviously affected by the death of the girl, but her struggle is more subtle and her character arc isn't as clearly resolved.Alice is the artist of the family. She spends most of the novel escaping the shadow of her artist father, falling in and out of bed with Maude (who can't seem to fully come out of the closet and whose "fascination with hypothetical versions of herself was bottomless.") and coming to the rescue of her siblings. She's fun and funny, but she also loves harder than anyone else in the book. She loves her siblings, she loves Maude. She even seems to love her parents more than her brother and sister.I feel like I was supposed to love Alice the most, but it turns out that Nick was the one I cared about the most. After the accident, Nick goes from a heavy drug user to a full-blown addict. I felt like his character was built from a flimsy stereotype, but I cared much more about what happened to him. When he's clean he's a very successful astronomer, but when he's using drugs, he's as down and out as it gets. Nick's story is the most heart-breaking because he is unable to channel the guilt and grief he feels over the death of the girl. His only response is to self-destruct. This could have easily been a fluff novel, designed to pull at your heart-strings and manipulate you into shedding tears for two-dimensional characters, but Carol Anshaw pulls it off in way that feels real.I said earlier that I didn't love Carry The One. I've been trying to figure out where the book and I missed each other and I've realized that it just wasn't written for me. I don't know if it's because I'm male and the book seems to be more geared towards female readers or if it's just a matter connecting to the story. Maybe it's both. I certainly think Carry The One will appeal more to women than men, but I hesitate to say that it's explicitly a book for women either. In the end, Carry The One is a good book and I liked it. The characters are strong and relatable, the writing is quite good and the story feels fresh. Some readers will really love this book and others, like me, will probably appreciate, but not ultimately fall for its charms.
shazjhb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book should make no. 1 for best book 2012. I am not sure what made it so compelling. Maybe it was the simple event and how it impacts people's lives or maybe it was the walk through recent history.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really interesting and unusual book. It's supposedly about an accident early in the story, but it's really about different forms of addiction, perhaps springing from the accident. The characters were expertly drawn, the narrative had a certain wry humor, and the romance was steamy. I'd definitely be interested in seeing what she writes next.
jules72653 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book although it was a bit hard to keep all the characters straight and their relationships to each other. In the beginning I wasn't sure if Jean was a friend or a sister. Turns out she was a friend of the sister. I didn't love the characters like I sometimes do but the author did a great job pacing the novel. Each chapter moves the story along deftly, sometimes in years and sometimes much less. I have paraphrased my favorite line from the book: "The past is resistant to revision." I love that! I also thought the last chapter was perfect! To end the book with another character would have been wrong.
Draak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carry The One is a story about a group of people who leave a wedding reception one night and end up killing a little girl on a dark country road. this changes all their lives. i only gave this book 2 stars because I found the book boring and the characters unlikeable. The only one who had their life changed would be Olivia who was driving the car that night. The rest were superficial. i really wanted to like this book but just couldn't.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd read rave reviews, and loved her other books, so I was excited to read this. Unfortunately I was disappointed, though I'm not quite sure why. The characters just didn't grab me; I wasn't interested in their stories; the writing was just okay. Good but not great.
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mel-in-tex More than 1 year ago
I actually selected this book for my book club based on the summary. Boy was I wrong! I was almost too ashamed to show up to the monthly meeting after reading this book. After the first chapter, the story moves painfully slow. The characters have no redeeming qualities. In the end, I, along with my book club colleagues, were left feeling depressed and frustrated. Nice premise; it was just done ALL wrong.