Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 392 pp, 9781760630560
In the first few pages of Cedar Valley, a group of women gather together to console one another after a calamitous event shatters the predictable languor of their small rural town. Pulling chairs into a circle, they pour glasses of brandy in the soft light of early evening and reflect on the day’s events, offering succour and speculation as the sky darkens around them. It is this compelling sense of community, with its intricate webs and unexpected bonds, its deep sweetness and complicated anguish, that is at the heart of Holly Throsby’s new novel. Cedar Valley is essentially a charming epic of intimacy; it is this moving affirmation of the sustaining grace of community that animates and enlivens this impressive work.