Tirra Lirra by the River: A Novel

Tirra Lirra by the River: A Novel

by Jessica Anderson


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One of Australia’s most celebrated novels: one woman’s journey from Australia to London

Nora Porteous, a witty, ambitious woman from Brisbane, returns to her childhood home at age seventy. Her life has taken her from a failed marriage in Sydney to freedom in London; she forged a modest career as a seamstress and lived with two dear friends through the happiest years of her adult life.

At home, the neighborhood children she remembers have grown into compassionate adults. They help to nurse her back from pneumonia, and slowly let her in on the dark secrets of the neighborhood in the years that have lapsed.

With grace and humor, Nora recounts her desire to escape, the way her marriage went wrong, the vanity that drove her to get a facelift, and one romantic sea voyage that has kept her afloat during her dark years. Her memory is imperfect, but the strength and resilience she shows over the years is nothing short of extraordinary. A book about the sweetness of escape, and the mix of pain and acceptance that comes with returning home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612193885
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Series: Neversink Series
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

JESSICA ANDERSON (1916–2010) was an accomplished novelist and playwright from Queensland, Australia. She was a writer in residence at the University of New England, Armidale; a Senior Commonwealth Fellow; and two-time award winner of the Miles Franklin Award for literature (for Tirra Lirra By the River and The Impersonators). Though she did not have the means to devote herself to writing until she was forty, she wrote six novels, ten radio plays, and one short story collection before her death in 2010.

ANNA FUNDER is the author of Stasiland and All That I Am.

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Tirra Lirra by the River 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Sneakysmum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written memories of an older woman who returns to her roots.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nora Porteous returns to her childhood home after being away nearly 40 years. Well into in her 70s, Nora is somewhat frail. The long journey from London to Sydney to northern Australia wears her out; she becomes ill and is cared for by neighbors who were children when she left. As she moves in and out of sleep, she is flooded with memories: first of her failed marriage, which was the impetus for leaving the country, and then of her childhood. Her reminiscences are a way for the reader to get to know Nora. As the story progresses, Nora retrieves bits and pieces that have long been suppressed, and a more complex portrait emerges.Nora is the only surviving member of her family, and most of the people she knew as a child have either died or moved away. She's a bit crotchety and resents her need for caregivers, even though they also help fill her in on happenings during her absence. She is treated by one of the town doctors, the son of a woman Nora had admired, but Nora discovers some shocking news about her death. Nora's convalescence is also an opportunity for healing and self-discovery, and eventually Nora accepts that she has entered another new phase in her life.First published in 1978, this 140-page novella is quiet and contemplative, similar to more recent works like Tinkers and Gilead.
posthumose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was awarded the Miles Franklin Award (Australia) in 1978. I Bookmooched it so I could read it and it was worth it. An oldie but goodie about how a woman's life turns out differently than she'd expected. Denied independence then having it forced upon her by her husband,she reflects on her two lives. One lived in Australia and the other in London until she returns to her childhood home in old age and finds the world a very different place. A good read.