The Blackwater Lightship

The Blackwater Lightship

Book - 1999
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A deeply resonant story about three generations of an estranged family reuniting to mourn an untimely death. It is the early 1990s, and Helen O'Doherty, her mother Lily, and her grandmother Dora, have come together in a crumbling old house along Ireland's coastal southeast to tend Helen's adored brother Declan, who is dying of AIDS. With two of Declan's friends, the six of them are forced to plumb the shoals of their own histories and to come to terms with each other. Written in a spare, powerful prose, this is a moving novel about the capacity of stories to heal the deepest wounds.
Publisher: c1999.
ISBN: 9780771085574
Branch Call Number: FIC Toibi


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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 16, 2014

William Trevor, Seamus Heaney and Colm Toibin are Irish writers who weave tales that are intensely emotional but sparingly written. Family ties are stretched to the breaking point in Toibin’s latest novel, but they rebound with hope. Three generations of proud Irish women, distant from each other physically and emotionally, are brought unbearably close as they meet to administer support to Declan, a beloved grandson, son and brother who is dying of AIDS. As they search through their individual interpretations of the past, their separate realities, initially clashing, are slowly melded together.

Dec 29, 2012

The story of a young woman, her mother, and her grandmother, who, along with two of her brother's friends, are caring for her brother as he is dying of AIDS. A very emotional book about character and family dynamics. One of my top four in 2012.

Jan 08, 2012

From the BBC list of top 100 books to read, this was a relatively short read about a woman whose brother is dying of aids, and as her family reunites for his final days, how they reconcile and come to terms with each other and themselves. At times it was very touching, other parts were a little tedious. The one thing that I took away was reading about how the main character is bothered by her mother's selling of her childhood home and how she comes to finally put her finger on why she is feeling this way: everyone needs a place where they can go in their time of need. That concept nails exactly what I have been feeling with regards to the sale and renovation of my parents' house. I no longer have a haven where I can go and just flake out on the couch and know someone will pick up the pieces for me. I have to be the adult now.

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