Luke and Anna move to the small town of Garra Nalla specifically because it doesn't have many people, but they nonetheless find and embrace a new community there. By showing how everyone in Garra Nalla is stronger for supporting each other, Vertigo casts the importance of community in a positive light. Anna and Luke's first encounter with their new community is through their neighbor Gil, who acts as their guide and the first friend they make in Garra Nalla. Gil is the character who reinforces the theme of community the most directly. This is especially evident when he tells the couple about the consortium of businessmen who own an old mansion in the area. The consortium uses the mansion for occasional parties, but they don't have any real connection to Garra Nalla or its people. This makes them worthy of contempt in Gil's view, as mere proximity doesn't make them part of the community.
Meanwhile, Alan and Bette also welcome Luke and Anna into Garra Nalla's social circle. Bette's questions about starting a family force Anna to think about her own unborn child in a way she has tried to avoid. In this way, exposure to a community of friends is healthy for her, even if it sometimes makes her uncomfortable. The most significant moment of the town's community strengthening one another comes in the third chapter, during the massive bushfire. The flames nearly consume the town, but because the community of Garra Nalla pulls together to help their neighbors, the disaster doesn’t claim any lives. The promise of solitude is what initially attracted Luke and Anna to Garra Nalla—but ironically, the town's community is what makes them feel truly welcome there by the end of the novel.
Community Quotes in Vertigo
‘But there’s nothing here!’ their friends would exclaim when later they came to visit. No shops, no hotel, no community hall, no boat ramp or barbecue area. And this was true, and it was the reason they had chosen the place. They felt that in some essential way it was uncultivated, a landscape out of time, and as such it could not define them. Here they could live, and simply be.
Delighted to find that Luke and Anna can both hit a ball he invites them to play doubles on the weekends, and sometimes of an evening after work. Like all social tennis, it is played with an underlying ferocity, the men volleying at the net as though their life depends on it and swearing under their breath. Nor is Anna immune to this manic athleticism, even if there is something comically grim in the way that Alan barks out the score after every point.
Bette is not a shy woman but she has a natural reserve so Anna is surprised when she says, ‘Do you think, Anna, that you’ll ever start a family?’
‘We’ve put that on hold,’ says Anna, firmly. ‘First we have to decide where home is.’ This isn’t the whole truth, far from it, and she hopes the boy isn’t listening.
‘In the middle of a bloody drought!’ fumes Gil. ‘It’ll be a fire hazard for one thing. And I’ll tell you another thing. It’ll suck up all the water out of the water table and eventually out of the lagoon. In five years’ time that lagoon will be a bloody mudflat. Them swans’ll have to find somewhere else to breed.’
And how odd this is, for isn’t Sir Frederick a Christian? And yet the first encampment in which he finds himself happy—beyond even this, inspired—is a citadel of Islam. It appears to Luke that despite his stern low-church principles, Treves has fallen in love with the city’s exotica, and especially the Great Bazaar where he and his wife are intoxicated by the perfumeries.
And yes, it is him, it’s the boy, and she sees now that the sloop is for him, is waiting to carry him to his next destination. Ah, she says, so you are leaving us. So you are on your way at last. But it’s okay, it’s alright; yes, she thinks, I am ready for this, and she raises her arm in a soft salute. Thank you, she says. Thank you for staying with us all this time.