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.
The author has an impressive ability to superbly develop characters.
This is a book of the ages- always timely, relationships explored, the pain and suffering of lost time with family well documented.
I recommend that anyone who liked "The Master" read this and his other earlier (and maybe even better written) books.
Also depressing. A good story, but not something to read if you need a cheery book to escape into. Colm isn't one for a lot of dialogue. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lizzy Haskins
This book caught me from the first. I love anything written, taking place, or having to do with Ireland. But had this book been "anywhere " , I still would have loved it. Read morePublished 7 months ago by June Gibson
Good read. Interesting family relationship and back-flashes. Sometimes intense, but I felt it was worth the time to continue to the end.Published 9 months ago by oldcat
Beautifully written, wonderful characters, an artfully structured story of a family gathering to sooth a brother/son as he comes closer to death. This one really got to me.Published 12 months ago by J. Johnson
Tolbim has a way of masquerading the truth of the young man's carelessness in acquiring his illness. Like all such diseases, the patient wants sympathy and care. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dottie Biz
I had read The Master, which is brilliant, and so I gave this novel a try -- very glad I did. Toibin gets into the minds of his characters, and is especially effective at... Read morePublished 16 months ago by alias-mom
I read this book some time ago, and was impressed by the sympathetic picture it gave of of the live of man with aids whose friends cared for him rather than deserted him.Published 16 months ago by Frances S. Heales
Helen has had a strained relationship with her mother Lily and grandmother Dora for years. But now Helen's brother Declan is dying of AIDS, and the three women are forced to come... Read morePublished 17 months ago by FictionFan