Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Words used to praise Anshaw's earlier novels (Seven Moves, 1996; Lucky in the Corner, 2002) witty, warm, intimate, poignant apply equally well to her most compelling book yet, a wholly seductive tale of siblings, addiction, conviction, and genius. This tough and tender comedy of misplaced love and beguiling characters begins with a wedding. Pregnant Carmen, a tireless professional do-gooder, is marrying Matt, a volunteer at the suicide hotline she runs. Nick, her crazy astronomer brother, is wearing a wedding dress; his date, Olivia, is wearing a tux; and they've brought enough drugs to get all of Wisconsin stoned. Carmen's sister, Alice, an artist, falls for Matt's sister, Maude. Utterly wasted, Nick, Olivia, Alice, Maude, and a folksinger start driving back to Chicago and strike and kill a young girl. Forever after, they are subjected to the relentless mathematics of guilt: When you add us up, you always have to carry the one. As the years unspool, Alice, frustrated in love, attains fame, even though she hides her best work. Heroically generous Carmen's first marriage quickly fizzles, but her son and, eventually, stepdaughter, are hilarious and wonderful. Sweet, tortured, cosmically gifted Nick remains epically self-destructive. Masterful in her authenticity, quicksilver dialogue, wise humor, and receptivity to mystery, Anshaw has created a deft and transfixing novel of fallibility and quiet glory.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The one that must be carried when the Kenney siblings add themselves up is the girl who was hit and killed when Nick and Alice were driving home, stoned and stupid, from their sister Carmen's wedding. That's the first chapter: the rest of the novel and the rest of their lives-sex and drugs and prison visits, family parties and divorce, raising teenagers, painting, politics, and addiction-play out with that guilt and loss forever in the background. Anshaw has a deft touch with the events of ordinary life, giving them heft and meaning without being ponderous. As the siblings' lives skip across time, Carmen's marriage, shadowed by the accident, falls apart; painter Alice's career moves forward unlike her life, as she remains stuck on the same woman, her former sister-in-law; and astronomer Nick fights, with decreasing success, his craving for drugs. Funny, touching, knowing-about painting and parents from hell, about small letdowns and second marriages, the parking lots where people go to score, and most of all, about the ways siblings shape and share our lives-Anshaw (Seven Moves) makes it look effortless. Don't be fooled: this book is a quiet, lovely, genuine accomplishment. (March) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
In her fourth novel (after Lucky in the Corner), award-winning writer Anshaw presents memorable characters whose lives have been affected by a single tragedy, which results in heartbreak and missed second chances. Twenty years earlier, siblings Alice and Nick leave their sister Carmen's wedding at 3 a.m., stoned, tipsy, and unfamiliar with the dark country roads; Olivia, Nick's girlfriend, is driving. A few miles on, Olivia hits and kills a girl walking on the side of the road. Over the years, the accident is always in the background for all the characters. Alice, a successful artist, goes in and out of lesbian relationships and obsessively paints more than a dozen portraits of the girl who was killed. Carmen's marriage does not last, and she buries herself in worthy causes. Olivia serves a brief prison sentence and then leaves Nick because of his drug habit. Nick, now a promising astronomer, is the one who broods the most deeply over the past. VERDICT Anshaw deftly depicts family ties broken and reconnected, portraying the best and the worst of this group of eccentrics. Recommended for readers of well-crafted literary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 9/23/11.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.