“Carry The One” by Carol Anshaw
One night 25 years ago, a group of friends – hazy from the drinks and romance of a summer night – left a wedding and wound up killing a young girl who ran in front of their car. These friends – Siblings Alice, Nick, and Carmen (the bride), and their “lovers” Maude and Olivia – never forget this event. In many ways, some subtle and some broad, this accident colors the rest of their lives.
Carol Anshaw’s book is so wonderful, because it’s such a normal read. Yes, this group of friends killed a girl, and Olivia (the driver, a little stoned at the time) goes to jail, but after a while their lives go on. They marry, get divorced, have their own kids, pursue careers, travel, and deal with addiction and emotions. Their lives, though forever tied together by a tragedy, don’t end in that second. The girl, Casey Redman, is always with them, and one of the friends even maintains a relationship with the girl’s mother. “Carry The One” is a fascinating slice-of-life read. There are no otherwordly happenings – Casey doesn’t show up in the final moments and teach them a lesson or anything. The book is about little moments and ordinary relationships, and it’s simply stunning.
**Also, as a Chicago resident, Anshaw’s vivid setting of the book in the streets of the Windy City is fun. When she references the punks at the Dunkin’ Donuts at Clark and Broadway, or how thick the hot air inside an El car can be, we know immediately what she means.**