After Kirsten Tranter’s first book was on the long list of the Miles Franklin Prize but didn’t make it to the short list, there was a lot of talk about the state of writing by women in Australia. That is, that there is a lot of writing but not so much review coverage or prize winning by women. Kirsten’s book wasn’t the only book effected, but it helped get the ball rolling in starting the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Many people have signed up to read and review lots of books written by Australian women this year, and this is my second blog to that end.
Kirsten Tranter’s new book is A Common Loss. It is about a group of five men who met at University and who in the years since, meet each other for a trip to Las Vegas. (I can’t imagine wanting to go to Las Vegas more than once personally, but that’s me!) This year the group are going again, but it’s different because one of their number has died. As well as this, a member has decided to bring his girlfriend on the trip. The dynamics are completely different and some of the group wonder why they are there. It becomes obvious that Dylan, the man who has died, was often the buffer between some of the others, and without him, tensions develop. To complicate matters, Dylan has given his brother information about all the group, information that none of them want revealed.
The group all question just what sort of friend Dylan was, and if they knew him at all. All of the characters are believable and It is an engrossing look at friendship and how alliances move and change. It would be a good book for discussion. $30