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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Story of Twenty Five Years of Living with Guilt.
This is the one that has got all `the U.S. talking' about it and when I read that I was a bit dubious, but now I have read the book I am a convert. This tells the story of a group of friends and family who are all attending a wedding. It starts in 1983 and there is more than just alcohol at the reception, so when it comes to going home time, not too many are really up for...
Published 23 months ago by Tommy Dooley

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Depressing Tale
The synopsis of this novel made me think that it would be an absorbing and an interesting study of the impact of one terrible event on the lives of those involved. The terrible event, which occurs right at the beginning of the book, is the death of a child of 10.

She is killed by a group of revellers leaving a wedding in the middle of nowhere, being mowed down...
Published 17 months ago by Brett H


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Story of Twenty Five Years of Living with Guilt., 8 Oct 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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This is the one that has got all `the U.S. talking' about it and when I read that I was a bit dubious, but now I have read the book I am a convert. This tells the story of a group of friends and family who are all attending a wedding. It starts in 1983 and there is more than just alcohol at the reception, so when it comes to going home time, not too many are really up for being the designated driver, but Olivia is.

Her lights aren't working properly so just on fog lamps she takes off and on the way home in the middle of nowhere they hit and kill a young girl. In the aftermath the mettle of some of the friends is seen in its true light and lot of them are found wanting. The book then takes us through their lives and their pasts for the next twenty five years. We have drug use, prison, familial hostility, bullying, lesbian relationships alternative folk music and oodles of guilt as well as a healthy dose of astro physics and art. The common thread running through the whole thing is how they did or did not deal with their part in the death of a child.

A lot of what takes place is the mundane and ordinary, the kind of things that are the geography and tapestry of every bodies lives. What makes it so engaging is the writing, Carol Anshaw get inside the characters and has a real feel for all of their emotions, whether rightly placed or being used as a shield from what ever one of lives travail's they are unable to face. There are no heroes and all the bad people are just ordinarily bad in many cases and as such there is a resonance in the simple truth that fills every page. That said actually quite a bit happens but as with all of us the milestones that we choose to define who we are can happen with great distance between them, this is the case here.

Carol Anshaw has received many plaudits for this work and I have to agree they are all deserved. This is a totally accessible book that has been crafted from simple observations and an understanding that can only come from having lived. By that living you will also have suffered and all of the sides of those emotions are on show here, this was simply a beautiful and compelling read, just simply brilliant - sorry the gush is now over.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirty years of guilt, 23 Dec 2012
By 
Eleanor (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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It is 1983 and the day of Carmen's wedding. As she waves goodbye to the last of her guests, her siblings, sister-in-law, and two friends, she notices that they are driving with only their fog lights. The car journey ends in tragedy and the events of that night resonate through the years. "Carry the One" follows Carmen and her family over three decades, each chapter advancing the narrative a few years.

Carmen, a righteous and loving woman, is vividly drawn as are the other characters who come to life in such a way that the reader is anxious to know what happens next, rejoicing in their successes or hoping that things will take a turn for the better. Although the death with which the book opens haunts the characters it is not always to the fore of the narrative. Rather this is a slow, often funny, depiction of a group of people groping their way through life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting..., 13 Jan 2013
By 
A. Douglas (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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This book opens with Carmen's wedding. Set in the early eighties. You meet her sister and brother who both dabble in drugs. They leave the wedding with their friends to drive home and they hit a girl in the road. This isn't a hit and run. They do the right thing, call for help etc. Olivia was driving and she is the girlfriend of Nick (Carmen's brother), she was high on drugs and went to prison for the crime. She does her time and grows up whilst in prison. Nick on the other hand, doesn't quite let go of the drugs. You fast forward a bit, to see that Nick is waiting for Olivia, Carmen gets divorced and lives with her son.

One way or another, they each remember the little girl. Alice (the other sibling) paints the girl as she ages. This is her way of coping. The book has less to do with the death of the girl and more of a coming of age read. It's about how times change/ people change and life moves on whether you want it to or not. It's a good read, but nothing more than almost a fly on the wall account of early twenty somethings getting older and living.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Depressing Tale, 24 Mar 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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The synopsis of this novel made me think that it would be an absorbing and an interesting study of the impact of one terrible event on the lives of those involved. The terrible event, which occurs right at the beginning of the book, is the death of a child of 10.

She is killed by a group of revellers leaving a wedding in the middle of nowhere, being mowed down at 3am by a car containing drunken, stoned and sex absorbed and self-obsessed young people . They certainly did not set out to kill her but rather failed to notice her in their path, swerving off the road too late to avoid her. However, they do report the accident. This is no hit and run.

Subsequently the driver is jailed and the rest of the group are remorseful. This novel charts - to a greater or lesser extent - the lives of those involved for the next twenty five years. The implication is that this event has had a huge impact and certainly the cover notes bill it as such. However, largely it did not seem to me to have had that effect on most of them except, perhaps, superficially. Some continued to be junkies, others despised their parents, got divorced, made out, were successful or not, but I was not at all convinced that the accident really had any huge impact on their lives as is implied.

This is really quite a depressing and miserable tale. Best taken with a lot of Leonard Cohen (music to jump out of the window by) in the background and some sour grapes to eat. Really hard to get through and it lacks the compulsion of the profound tale it is clearly intended to be. King Lear it is not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and achingly honest tale of lives shaped by a tragic event., 15 Jan 2013
By 
Zola fan "Nana" (Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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"Carry the One" is centred on the lives of a group of young people, and gripped my attention from the early stage of reading the synopsis.
The story begins at a rather unconventional wedding, when tragedy strikes as the group are returning from the reception to continue the party. The drinks had flowed too freely, and their car is involved in an accident, killing a ten-year-old girl. The driver, of course, is over the limit.

The subsequent chapters describe their lives through the following decades, from the viewpoints of four of the main characters, and the story is told with gritty realism. There is no unnecessary sentiment or hackneyed clichés, though sufficient background information is supplied. In fact, I became thoroughly involved in the tale midway through the book, feeling that I knew the characters' strengths and weaknesses - and their demons - so well.
I think the most interesting and enjoyable facet of this book is the way in which the paths the characters lives evolved, from arrogant young idealism, through a tragic life-changing event, then to maturity. Inevitably, however, the events of that night had an impact, combining with serendipity to shape their personalities and affect their backgrounds.
I read this in two days and I think the key aspect of its attraction for me was that although I did not identify personally with any one character, I felt empathy for them all.
Brilliant read, definitely recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five are defined by an unforgivable accident, 10 Jan 2013
By 
David Spanswick (Brighton United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
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Many reviewers here and elsewhere have described the basic premise and narrative drive of this excellent and thought provoking novel by Carol Anshaw, an expert in the field of novel writing. A stupid accident will define the characters in the book; they can not escape the guilt of the incident and they will drag their family and friends into a vortex of unresolved recriminations.

The strength, however, of the book is that these five are people like us. They didnt mean to do what they did ~ sounds familiar ~ but they have to live with the consequences. They have to, and will, survive. They will exist in a world that the father of the dead girl never will.

It is a truth that sins cast long shadows and yet Carol Anshaw carefully guides her characters through the stresses and strains of life coloured by this early indiscretion to such a degree that as a reader I felt the loss of the company of Nick, Olivia, Alice, Maude and Tom when the book reached its not overtly sensational close. So how Carol Anshaw felt when she wrote the last page, yielded up the book to her editors I can only imagine.

When you devote your life to writing, and gradually unfolding, characters so real we know them all so well, it can only feel like loss when you have to be done with them. Anshaw is a classic puppet master of a writer, supremely in control of her characters. I see her sitting at a table with them telling them how their day is going to pan out; maternal in her care.

This is a novel that will not only resonate with a whole swathe of younger readers but will affect older ones too who truly have "been there", I was reminded a lot of Woody Allen films and how he guides his cast of characters through the dizzy heights and woeful depths of modern living
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read with interest, 6 April 2013
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
Book arrived quickly and in excellent condition. Written by an American author so some of the vocbulary and phrases more guessed at. Interesting narrative and characters and ,untypically American, not a happy ending with everyone riding off into the sunset.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'When you add us up, you always have to carry the one', 27 Mar 2013
By 
Isola (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
Carol Anshaw's fourth novel 'Carry the One' begins with the bohemian wedding of Carmen and Matt in rural Wisconsin. At 3am the last guests to leave are five over-indulged guests in a carnivorous old Dodge. Passengers are the bride's sister, Alice, a talented, gay artist, her brother Nick, a spaced out star-gazing genious, Olivia, Nick's new girlfriend, Matt's sister, Maud, a trainee nurse/part time model and their friend Tom, a Billy Joel styled folk singer.

As Olivia, tired and over the limit, drives only on yellow fog lamps along a dark country road, there is a tragic accident which causes the death of 10 year old Casey Redman. And the repercussions of that shared moment reverberates over the next 25 years for them all. The author quotes one of the characters as saying: 'When you add us up, you always have to carry the one'. This novel is about the way their disaster transforms whoever they were, into whoever they become - and how they are viewed by others.

Their story is told through a series of brilliantly detailed snapshots, mostly set in Chicago, but the author includes keenly observed artistic scenes from Paris and Amsterdam. This is a powerful novel, but contains warmth and humour and is written with a delicate and eloquent honesty; I was totally engrossed from cover to cover. I have been playing many of the poignant moments of this book over and over in my mind. This is my first Carol Anshaw read and it certainly won't be my last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Jan 2013
By 
A. Mcshane (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carry the One (Paperback)
I was so looking forward to reading this book but was so disappointed and found it very uninteresting. Apart from the start of the book when the girl was killed, there was very little storyline to keep me reading. I did finish the book however I would not recommend this as one to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly reccomended, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Carry the One (Kindle Edition)
I very much enjoyed reading Carry the One. One awful event in the lives of the characters colours their whole lives and you follow them through the twists & turns of lives dominated by guilt and regret. The author made me care about the characters and what happened and that's so important.
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Carry the One
Carry the One by Carol Anshaw (Paperback - 22 Nov 2012)
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