From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith
A woman of spirit and independence, Nora Porteous is still somewhat apprehensive about what the coming years hold. Now in her seventies, she has returned to the house she grew up in and the town she escaped from forty-five years ago when she got married and moved to Sydney. Initially her marriage felt like love - she wanted her feelings to be love - but after ten years there was no denying that it wasn't. At thirty-five, for the first time in her life, she realizes she has options: they don't have to be escapes or decisions made to please others. "And that's how I came to go to London, not because I particularly wanted to go, but as an affirmation of the wonderful discovery that nobody could stop me." With high spirits and new-found independence she leaves for London with plans to return to Australia in a year. Instead she establishes a life in London, gets a job, makes friends and stays for more than thirty years. When she returns to Australia, floods of long forgotten memories surface. As she looks back on her life, she slowly comes to an understanding of who she is and what her choices have been. Tirra Lirra By The River is about Nora's journey - to Sydney, to London, back home, and to herself.