cover image Valley Fever

Valley Fever

Katherine Taylor. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-29914-9

With crisp, often droll prose, Taylor (Rules for Saying Goodbye) has written an affecting second novel, set in California’s Central Valley. Ingrid Palamede, a daughter who departed her home town when she was young, returns to her parents’ vineyard after a crushing breakup, under the guise of helping her ailing father with his business. Effortlessly woven in are various threads of Fresno local color that make up a landscape of love and tension: a high school boyfriend whose touch lingers, an ex–best friend who worms her way back into Ingrid’s heart, an employee who is stealing from her father. The lulls of domestic ennui and nostalgia are broken up by Ingrid’s sharp and humorous observations about life and the inevitable confrontation of adulthood. A breezy family saga, this story is also an ode to the decline of the valleys of California, with all their rustic beauty and hazy disenchantment. (June)