A COMMON LOSS by Kirsten Tranter


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Australian writer Tranter’s sophomore effort (The Legacy, 2010) examines the complexities of friendship.


For the last decade, quiet, bookish Elliot and his former college buddies have met annually in Las Vegas for a “guys’ weekend.” But this year’s trip is different: Dylan, the heart and soul of the group, has died. Struck while riding a bicycle, the handsome Dylan, a former model and member of a successful Hollywood family, worked for a New York publishing house. Always the “fixer” of the group, Dylan could be counted upon to step in and set things right among the group’s members. His death has had a significant effect on the friends, each of whom had a secret relationship with Dylan, and on this trip the friends uncover one another’s hidden bonds. Elliot, now a college literature professor, remains emotionally scarred by a long ago accident involving the group. In Vegas he comes to the realization that his indebtedness to Dylan could also lead to his downfall when a previously hidden facet of his friend’s life comes to light. Tranter’s story takes readers along the often bumpy and uneven road of friendship and into the world of secrets that sometimes accumulate among longtime acquaintances. Elliot, the reticent observer of the group, is a well-drawn character. Eventually, an unanticipated turn requires him to question what he knows about Dylan, the others and himself.


Tranter, whose writing is solid but occasionally verges into overly oblique territory, deftly explores a friendship that’s past its prime.

Pub Date: March 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7722-8
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2012


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