Carry the One: A Novel by Carol Anshaw

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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. Paperback.


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“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. It can’t be as effortless as [Anshaw] makes it look, but it’s a pleasure to soar with her, for a while, on that high wire.” Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home and Are You My Mother?

Friendships and love affairs, marriage and divorce, parenthood, holidays, and the modest tragedies and joys 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. Deceptively short and simple in its premise, this novel derives its power and appeal from the author’s beautifully precise use of language; her sympathy for her very recognizable, flawed characters; and her persuasive belief in the transforming forces of time and love.

Carry the One begins in the hours following Carmen’s wedding reception, when a car filled with stoned, drunk, and sleepy guests accidently 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, connect and disconnect and reconnect with each other and their victim. As one character says, “When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.”

Carol Anshaw Carry The OneAuthor Carol Anshaw has won the Carl Sandburg, Society of Midland Authors, and Ferro-Grumley awards for fiction. Carol Anshaw is also a painter, and a past fellow of the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, she teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Chicago and in Amsterdam with her partner.

Carol Anshaw and her partner standing in the doorway of Virginia Woolf’s cottage.

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