Tirra Lirra by the River

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Tirra Lirra by the River
Author Jessica Anderson
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Macmillan, Australia
Publication date
Media type Paperback
Pages 141
ISBN 0-333-25133-4
OCLC 5938300
LC Class PZ4.A54736 Ti 1978 PR9619.3.A57

Tirra Lirra by the River is a Miles Franklin Award-winning novel by Australian author Jessica Anderson.[1] Though written some years before, it was first published in 1978.[1] It is included in Carmen Callil and Colm Tóibín's collection The Modern Library: The Best 200 Novels in English since 1950 (Picador 1999. ISBN 0-330-34182-0).

Plot synopsis[edit]

For Nora Porteous, life is a series of escapes. To escape her tightly knit small-town family, she marries, only to find herself confined again, this time in a stifling Sydney suburb with a selfish, sanctimonious husband. With a courage born of desperation and sustained by a spirited sense of humor, Nora travels to London, and it is there that she becomes the woman she wants to be. Or does she?

Quotes: "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." - The Washington Post "There may be a better novel than Tirra Lirra by the River this year, but I doubt it." - Cleveland Plain Dealer "Subtle, rich, and seductive, this beautifully written novels casts a spell of delight upon the reader." Library Journal

Cultural references[edit]

The book's title is taken from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem, "The Lady of Shalott". That particular line comes from part 3, stanza 4:

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
'Tirra lirra,' by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.


Further reading[edit]

  • Bird, Delys. "Review of Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson." Westerly 25 (1980): 78–80.
  • Haynes, Roslyn. "Art as Reflection in Jessica Anderson's Tirra Lirra by the River". Australian Literary Studies 12 (1986): 316–323.
  • Sheridan, Susan. "Tirra Lirra and Beyond: Jessica Anderson's Truthful Fictions." Australian Book Review 324 (2010): 47–49.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Swords and Crowns and Rings
Miles Franklin Award recipient
Succeeded by
A Woman of the Future