Kirsten Tranter
  • A Common Loss

four friends — four secrets

Click to read an extract

Click to read an extract

They were originally five.

Elliot. Brian. Tallis. Cameron. And Dylan – charismatic Dylan – the mediator, the leader, the man each one turned to in a time of crisis. Five close friends, bonded in college, still coming together for their annual trip to Las Vegas.

This year, they are not just bound by a common tradition, but by a common loss: that of Dylan, killed in a road accident the previous year. Yet what is intended as a celebration of Dylan’s life becomes a frightening confrontation with the past.

Upon arrival in Vegas, each of the remaining four friends receives an envelope, one that contains evidence of their most private secrets. These secrets haunt each of their respective owners, yet were only known collectively by one person – Dylan.

This man had another, hidden side – one which is now taunting them from beyond the grave. Why would Dylan want these secrets unearthed? Who is digging them up for him? And, more importantly, what is it going to take for them to be reburied?

Released January 2012 (Australia); March 2012 (US); April 2012 (UK).

Kirsten discusses A Common Loss with Jo Case here in the December 2011 Readings newsletter online.

You can also watch Kirsten discussing A Common Loss with Caroline Baum here.

And listen to Kirsten discuss A Common Loss with KNPR Las Vegas here.

Praise for A Common Loss:

“A potent story of secrets, love, friendship and the bonds that keep people close; in the case of these friends it is a shared history that also threatens to destroy them. Brimming with blackmail and deception and laced with grief, poetry, simmering emotional tension and relationships both budding and exhausted, Tranter’s second novel does not disappoint.” Bookseller&Publisher, Summer 2011 (four stars) Read the whole review here.

“Tranter deftly explores a friendship that’s past its prime.” Kirkus Reviews

“An intimate character study of friendship and deceit set against the American paean to false appearances.” Publishers Weekly

“An introspective look at the dynamics of friendship, the power of secrets, and the nature of guilt.” Booklist

“…even better [than The Legacy]… a contemporary anatomy of grief, played out between four friends in the wake of a fatal accident, that tightens around the reader like a vice. Tranter makes most other psychological thrillers seem simple-minded.” Geordie Williamson, The Australian, December 2011

“richly allusive and subtly musical yet limpid, quicksilver prose…” The West Australian (read the whole piece here)

“A Common Loss is a beauty… Tranter writes with great style and panache and is certainly going to become one of our major novelists.” Mark Rubbo, bookseller (in his Best Books of 2011 in The Australian)

“With her richly allusive and subtly musical yet limpid, quicksilver prose… Tranter draws us into the intimate, fractious relationship between five men” The West Australian, January 2012. Read the whole review here.

“Tranter’s metaphoric use of the facades and glitz of Vegas is beautifully done… the dynamics of male friendship and the fine line between friendships solidifying and shattering are analysed expertly.” Readings newsletter, December 2011. Read the whole review here.

“… an assured, suspenseful and involving book.” Better Homes and Gardens, January 2012

“…readers could hardly imagine a more lucid, knowing investigation of what contemporary American existence looks like… The excitement of concealment and exposure – the bread and butter of genre thrills – is not all that holds the reader, however. A Common Loss is built from richer, more complex stuff. It is a tale of social artifice that unfolds in a city of mirrors, and a story of betrayal that nonetheless unfolds using Tennyson’s bleakly authentic language of loss.” The Australian, December 2011. Read the whole review here.

“Against the sleaze and tackiness of the Strip, Tranter is able to hone in on the complex nature of grief and weave a clever and emotionally charged narrative within the bars and casinos of a famously shallow destination. The ordinary characters then emerge for what they truly are: believable, nuanced and fascinating.” The Telegraph, December 2011. Read Nick Perry’s review and profile on Kirsten here.

“The acute insights into human behaviour and the excellence of the writing – she never writes a dull sentence, and some of them stop you in your tracks – un-doubtedly classify her novels as literary fiction, but they are also compellingly good reads.” Ruth Starke in Australian Book Review, February 2012.