Anna Worley

Anna Worley is a strong but complex character. She’s forced to deal with a lot of changes, including becoming sick with asthma, which deeply affects her feelings about herself, and prompts a big move from the city to a quiet, seaside town with her husband, Luke.

Anna was once full of energy, always being active and contrasting with Luke’s more relaxed and thoughtful traits. But when she gets asthma, Anna’s confidence takes a hit. She refers to herself as an “invalid” and struggles with feeling weak and more fragile than before. The illness takes away her zest for life and forces them to reconsider life in the city, given their concern it’s only making her health worse.

The decision to move to the countryside isn’t just about health; finances and a dissatisfaction with their city life also play a part. Over time, Anna goes from a young, upbeat, and carefree spirit to someone anxiously contemplating her needs and wants. Her move to Garra Nalla is also about escaping the harm that materialistic wants and envy have caused her well-being.

Anna’s character evolves based on her environment. The move to Garra Nalla, chosen for its simple and untouched nature, shows her longing for simplicity and purity. But even in her new home, traces of her past worries linger. For example, deciding to keep an old-fashioned stove in their kitchen may reflect her wish to blend the charm of the past with the often cold reality of adulthood.

Life in Garra Nalla isn’t perfect, demonstrated by the persistent winds that unsettle Anna, which could be seen as a metaphor for the challenges life throws at her. But she doesn’t give up, proven by her determination to swim and run, regardless of the tough winds.

A scary incident with a snake hiding under a sheet is a blunt reminder of life’s hidden dangers. Anna’s reaction – dousing herself in water and seeking help – shows she’s a woman tested by life’s unpredictable turns, but ready to face them head-on.

Overall, Anna Worley’s character is defined by her journey of personal growth as she comes to terms with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Going from a carefree youth to an adult facing multiple challenges, Anna is always searching for a place where she can recover her self-belief and control over her life. She reflects the shared human experience of dealing with life’s unpredictable changes and the quest for a personal refuge amidst life’s storms.

Luke Worley

Luke Worley in “Vertigo” goes through a significant personal change. He moves from being indifferent to nature when living his ordered city life to becoming a bird-watching enthusiast after moving to the coast with his wife, Anna. This switch signals an escape from urban noise and movement towards a better understanding of and connection with nature.

Previously unbothered by city pressures, Luke changes when faced with rising costs and Anna’s worsening health. His optimism takes a hit, particularly stressed by their struggle to buy a house and Anna’s asthma condition. It’s a wake-up call, revealing the harsh realities overshadowing his promising future.

Motivated by concern for Anna in their damp city apartment, Luke suggests a country move despite an asthma doctor’s warning. This shows his practicality mixed with hopeful thinking, eager to battle the unseen forces eating away at Anna’s health and their happiness.

Luke’s choices in the story reflect his and Anna’s need for a new beginning. The move to the small, coastal town Garra Nalla, more a settlement than a city, symbolizes their shared wish to leave behind past difficulties. Luke’s decision suggests a longing for a simpler life, swapping the urban hustle for more control over their story.

In Garra Nalla, Luke shows resilience and a love for the untouched landscape, not bothered by the lack of things most people consider crucial. However, his decisions, as well as his internal struggle with criticism from his father, reveal a deeper complexity within Luke. His unwillingness to talk about his career choice or justify his decision to study law in the past unearths his internal battle between societal expectations and his own wish for a quieter, more meaningful life.

Luke represents an individual grappling with expectations, fear, and personal transformation. His shift to a simpler life, feelings of inadequacy in the face of city extravagance, and the protective role he takes on for Anna, all paint a detailed picture of a man seeking balance and pleasure amidst personal turmoil. In this way, “Vertigo” presents Luke Worley as a modern man attempting to balance personal goals with evolving identities and the search for well-being in an ever-changing environment.

The Boy

The boy, a character in Amanda Lohrey’s “Vertigo,” embodies the uninhibited exuberance and raw curiosity characteristic of childhood. A stark contrast to the adult characters, he exudes a sense of being in harmony with his natural surroundings, oozing an inherent wildness that further reflects his connection to the environment.

Unlike the adult characters, the boy is portrayed as a lively daredevil who enjoys absolute freedom. His rough-and-tumble look–appearing like a sun-kissed angel one day and a wild, dirty-haired “bush urchin” the next–symbolizes the adventurous spirit of a boy who playfully engages with his world without any reservations.

Frequently shown in motion, the boy’s dynamic interactions with his surroundings mark his unstructured approach to life–whether striking a woodblock as if executing a karate move or running fiercely to scatter a group of birds. Such energetic and abrupt actions not only demonstrate his playful, explorative nature but also reflect his desire to disrupt and interact with the world around him.

In his dealings with the adults in the narrative, the boy often seems elusive and somewhat unapproachable, often disappearing when older characters like Ken and Gil enter the scene. This behavior could suggest a level of discomfort or an intentional disconnection with the older generation, or it could simply reflect a child’s tendency to avoid the seriousness of adult world.

The boy’s resilience and self-dependency are subtly highlighted by repeated instances of his unexplained absences. However, instead of worrying, Anna, unfazed by these disappearances, trusts his instinct to return. This nuanced portrayal adds an intriguing dimension to the boy’s character, reflecting a sense of reliability interwoven with a child’s innate sense of exploration and independence.

In essence, the boy in “Vertigo” stands as an emblem of unrestrained life, untouched by the existential dilemmas and transitional phases that the adult characters, such as Luke and Anna, grapple with. His vivacious aura breathes life into the narrative, providing a refreshing and lively contrast to the adults’ contemplative lives. His spirited engagement with the dynamic natural environment of Garra Nalla encapsulates the very essence of the place that the characters escape to, highlighting the joy and freedom intrinsic to unspoiled childhood.

Ken, in “Vertigo,” is presented as a traditional, somewhat old-fashioned character. His disappointment over not having grandchildren shows his leaning towards conventional family values.

Characterized as someone who takes responsibility for everything around him, Ken feels obliged to care for the weak – pointing to his protective nature. These traits reflect an old-style of family relationship that values duty and care over emotional intimacy.

Yet, Ken can’t completely hide his true emotions. Anna notices he struggles to show interest and keep boredom at bay during his visit, leading her to describe him as an “old-style school inspector.” This hints at Ken’s capacity to provoke feelings of inferiority in others, especially if they feel they don’t meet his standards.

From Anna’s point of view, Ken considers her and Luke as falling short of his expectations. This suggests Ken struggles with change, especially when it doesn’t align with his own definitions of success and appropriateness. He evidently disapproves of their lifestyle away from the city, showing a clear generation gap in values.

Luke’s interactions with Ken are tense, marked by mutual annoyance. Luke dislikes Ken’s patronizing ways which reveal Ken’s inability to connect with those whose beliefs differ from his. Luke’s reluctance to argue with Ken highlights the distance and formal nature of their relationship.

Ken personifies the generational divide, showcasing the conflicts that can emerge from differing outlooks, ambitions, and ways of living across generations. In a wider scope, Ken symbolizes traditional masculinity and the patriarchal values which can clash with modern values and individualistic pursuits. He demonstrates the common challenges of understanding and acceptance in family dynamics and generational gaps.


Gilbert “Gil” Reilly is a key character in “Vertigo,” representing the community spirit and local knowledge of the coastal town, Garra Nalla. He’s a widow and becomes close with Luke and Anna, the new arrivals in town. He often visits for casual chats, or what he calls a ‘natter’.

As a ‘local folklore expert,’ Gil contributes to the story not just with his friendly talks but also with his breadth of knowledge about the town’s past. He also offers practical advice, such as tips on using and maintaining the wood stove, signaling his readiness to help Luke and Anna settle into their new life.

Gil’s tall height, distinctive nose, and mixture of ginger and gray hair give him a memorable appearance that goes well with his position as a knowledgeable local and nature enthusiast. He seems to be someone with plenty of life experience and wisdom.

There’s a sense, though, that Gil keeps personal things to himself. This is shown when Luke learns about Gil’s grandson serving in Afghanistan – a fact Gil chose not to share despite their closeness. This hints at Gil’s tendency to bottle up personal troubles, maybe to keep up a strong front or to avoid burdening others with his worries.

Gil’s private nature causes some tension with Ken, observed by Anna and Luke. They note the strained interaction and clear dislike between the two men. Despite Ken’s patronizing attitude, Gil responds with polite stiffness, showcasing his dignified nature but also indicating his discomfort with Ken’s superiority.

In sum, Gil symbolizes a blend of traditional masculinity, gentleness that comes with life experience, and solitude associated with losing a spouse. He’s the keeper of the town’s histories, plus his own, offering a steady backdrop amidst the changing lives of other characters, like Luke and Anna. He gives a nod to the value of local wisdom and quiet endurance.


In “Vertigo,” Amanda Lohrey portrays Alan as a lively and multi-dimensional character. He is a maths teacher but also pursues a strong interest in collecting antique hardware, stored in a spacious workshop. Known for their energy and practicality, both Alan and his wife Bette are skilled at handling various tasks and projects.

Alan and Bette’s practicality shines in their past project of building an eco-friendly house well before such practices were popular. This reflects his forward-thinking mindset and determination, making him an individual who is ahead of his time and self-reliant.

His sociable nature is shown when he revives a disused tennis court and includes Luke and Anna in casual tennis games. Alan’s enjoyments for sports and his willingness to engage his neighbours in such activities reveal his value for community and shared experiences. Even with such friendly games, his competitive streak is evident.

In a conversation about a helicopter crew, Alan’s approachable and open characteristics are shown. He isn’t hesitant to delve into serious topics, reflecting his open-minded attitude and ability to connect with others on various topics. He is a central figure in his community.

Through Alan’s character, Lohrey presents a figure who combines a practical, solution-driven approach to life with an appreciation for the past, evident in his hobby of collecting. This character contrasts with the inward-looking journeys of other characters like Luke and Anna, offering a refreshing representation of a individual who negotiates the practical demands of modern life while still cherishing the past and enjoying the shared community spirit.


Rodney, in “Vertigo,” is an intriguing secondary character who adds depth and contrast to the story. He’s somewhat hard to pin down, often absent, and operating on the edge of social and legal norms.

Rodney’s complicated and secretive relationship situation is quickly established – he stays with his girlfriend only when her husband is away working. This living arrangement, described as “not a happy situation,” hints at potential troubles ahead. His nights alone, spent brooding and smoking on his porch, suggest restlessness and possibly feeling trapped in a tricky situation.x

Rodney’s living space matches his unconventional personal life. He has a lit shed that he keeps at the bottom of his property. When the shed’s light is seen glowing at night, the main character, Luke, speculates there could be a secret “indoor dope garden” inside, insinuating Rodney’s possible involvement in illegal activities. The hints about a larger hidden “plantation” that Rodney might be operating in the hills suggest potential extensive and risky undertakings.

Rodney is positioned at the outskirts of Garra Nalla society. His secretive and nocturnal life represents a darker aspect of the story, subtly suggesting that even a peaceful coastal community isn’t exempt from human complexities.

Through Rodney, Lohrey explores themes of danger, secrecy, and desires at odds with societal norms. For others who seek simple life and solace in the coastal town, Rodney provides a stark contrast. He reflects the quiet tensions that can bubble under the surface in a tightly knit community, thus adding to the personality details that make the town of Garra Nalla unique.