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.
My favorite Colm Toibin novel. Affecting, honest, surprising, and true to Ireland's politics during that period (early 2000's). Read morePublished 2 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 2 months ago by Joan colen
I wish the ending was better. But overall, I liked the book.Published 4 months ago by Christina Najarro
Wife bought it, I'm sure its good otherwise I would have heard about it by nowPublished 4 months ago by HUGH F MCCARTHY
The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin has the same intimate connection of the local Irish people with the water, earth and sky that surrounds them. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary Addems Carr
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 14 months ago by Lizzy Bean