Order Carry the One
“When you add us up, you always have to carry the one.”

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, 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.”

Through 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.

Praise for Carry the One

“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?
"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
“Beautifully observed…a resonate ‘Big Chill’-like look at how time affects relationships.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“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.”
—Emma Donoghue, author of Room
"This book is undeniably hip, but it’s not the hip of Urban Outfitters knit caps or fixed gear bicycles. Then I had my lightbulb moment. This book doesn’t just have its finger on the pulse of the current zeitgeist, Carry the One has its finger on the pulse of the f—ing human condition. That’s what makes it hip with superpowers. That’s what makes it the Platonic ideal of cool.”
—Kit Steinkellner, Books Are My Boyfriend
“Graceful and compassionate . . . Anshaw demonstrates that struggling to do one’s best, whatever the circumstances, makes for a life of consequence.”
People magazine, 4 stars
“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.”
—Entertainment Weekly, A
“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 characters… are so painfully and hilariously recognizable that we cannot turn from the familiarity of their circumstances and their flaws.”
Meredith Maran, Chicago Tribune
“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
© 2021 Carol Anshaw. All rights reserved.