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Colm Tóibín (The Story of the Night) delivers this unsentimental account of a troubled family in spare but suggestive language. He does allow his characters a few high-spirited remarks and the occasional outburst. Otherwise, though, he keeps his tone even, allowing for the perfect integration of a light, unforced symbolism. For Lily, broken hopes and dreams are bound up with the Blackwater Lightship, one of two lighthouses that once stood in the Irish Sea near Ballyconnigar. As a child, she believed that these would always be there:
Tuskar was a man and the Blackwater Lightship was a woman and they were both sending signals to each other and to other lighthouses, like mating calls. He was forceful and strong and she was weaker but more constant, and sometimes she began to shine her light before darkness had really fallen.For Helen, on the other hand, it was the house itself that prompted her deepest, happiest fantasies. But now Lily has sold the property and shattered Helen's dream that "it would be her refuge, and that her mother, despite everything, would be there for her and would take her in and shelter her and protect her. She had never entertained this thought before; now, she knew that it was irrational and groundless, but nonetheless ... she knew that it was real and it explained everything." What Declan has done by drawing them all together at Granny's house is to enact this potent, poignant fantasy. Whether it has the power to reconstruct his family is another matter, but in any case, The Blackwater Lightship remains a gripping narrative, deftly delivered by a master storyteller. --Regina Marler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is not a new story- a story about how death and illness effects a family- but it is told with such insight, beautiful language and touching humor.An engaging read.Published 22 days ago by Pam Rodgers
THE BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP by Colm Toibin is one of my favourite books.Published 1 month ago by Anne Hermans
I was reading reviews of a recent Toibin novel and noted one reviewer saying the new book couldn't compare to Blackwater Lightship (now 5 or more years old). Read morePublished 2 months ago by RunSueRun
It was disappointing. I thought it would be a good family intrigue story. It wasn't. It was very flat, the characters were not interesting at all, their connections were vague,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by gr
A must read if you like Toibin. So heartfelt. Makes you stop and think of how you might feel in this situation. Loved the relationship of the family and the friends. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ann
My favorite Colm Toibin novel. Affecting, honest, surprising, and true to Ireland's politics during that period (early 2000's). Read morePublished 6 months ago by Wendy Rawlings
He gets to me every time....not only about AIDS but mothers and daughters....I never tire of reading anything he writes.Published 6 months ago by Joan colen