Five stoned and inebriated young people are driving home in the early hours after a wedding in rural Wisconsin: Nick and Alice, the bride’s brother and sister; Tom, a folk singer of modest talent; Maude, the groom’s sister, sleepily making out with Alice, her fellow bridesmaid; and behind the wheel Nick’s new girlfriend Olivia, a postal worker. Unexpectedly, a young girl materialises in the road and they crash. Dazed, bleeding, stuck inside the tipped-over vehicle, the five sprawl ‘as still as sacks of flour’, while the broken body of ten-year-old Casey Redman lies in the road looking ‘something like an extremely advanced yoga pose, limbs bent in unlikely ways’. Carry the One tracks the quintet for the next 25 years, tracing the ramifications of the accident.
In one sense, the tragedy has no meaning and outwardly they go on with their lives. Tom and Maude, minor characters, seem least affected: he writes a cheesy song about the girl and promptly forgives himself; Maude, a model, becomes the maddening, on–off lover of Alice, an artist, with the