Ironical misnomer, ""Happy Valley"", for a small backwater near Sydney, where odds and ends of humanity, derelicts, whites and half-breeds, stagnate. There's a doctor trapped there, with his wife's health breaking in the climate, there's a school teacher whose asthma is making him impotent, so that his wife sleeps with the first newcomer. Top society consists of the landowners and their daughter, engaged to an ordinary young Englishman. Crises in their lives come during the time compassed by the story, and there emerges a picture of frustration and hopelessness. The author has an uncanny faculty for stressing psychological nuances, undertones, and so on. It is an interesting and very perceptive first novel, but it's not a book that will be easy selling or easy reading.