Tirra Lirra by the River

Part of The Neversink Library

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.

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 andThe 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.

“Finely honed structurally and tightly textured, it’s a wry, romantic story that should make Anderson’s American reputation and create a demand for her other work.”
Washington Post

“Its language is straightforward and easy to digest, and Nora as a narrator still feels fresh in her experience of life.”
Barnes & Noble Review

“There may be a better novel than Tirra Lirra by the River this year, but I doubt it.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Nora’s family think she’s ’reckless, cynical, frivolous’ but, like Anderson’s novel, she’s brave, perceptive and funny about the challenges everybody – but especially those who, for reasons of gender, nationality, sexuality or good old free spiritedness, feel like outsiders – faces in finding their way in the world.”
Max Liu, The Independent (UK)

“Subtle, rich, and seductive, this beautifully written novels casts a spell of delight upon the reader.”
Library Journal