The Blackwater Lightship: Book summary and reviews of The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin

The Blackwater Lightship

by Colm Toibin

The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin X
The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin
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About this book

Book Summary

In Blackwater in the early 1990s, three women - Dora Devereux, her daughter Lily and her granddaughter Helen - have come together after years of strife and reached an uneasy truce. Helen's adored brother Declan is dying. Two friends join him and the women in a crumbling old house by the sea, where the six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, must listen and come to terms with one another.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is the most astonishing piece of writing, lyrical in its emotion and spare in its construction ...Toibin has crafted an unmissable read" - Sunday Herald

"Toibin is a sparing, unsentimental writer; he has an innate sense of the formal feeling that follows great pain. His portrait of three generations struggling to accept (and care for) one another is deftly offset by the medical and social formalities of dying from AIDS, and the novel's achievement lies in its depiction of the everyday enterprise of loss." - The New Yorker

"Without ever being heavy-handed, Toibin shows how death can shed light on the morals of individuals as well as entire families. He also illustrates the paralysis that strikes people who have an overwhelming need for approval and love: They are stopped in their tracks in the same way that they might be frozen in the sweeping ray of a lighthouse beam." - Time Out New York, John Freeman

"Readers have come to expect as much from Toibin, but The Blackwater Lightship goes beyond his earlier work in its depth and compassion. The novel delivers a graceful and moving meditation on loss, obligation, and the nature of family. In an era of ever-more-rapid change, Toibin's radiant novel reminds us that some things are more constant: love and frailty, and our human need for one another." - Lambda Book Report, Elizabeth Flynn

"Toibin writes like a stylistic heir of Hemingway, in spare and brutally insistent prose, and inhabits a domain of silence and inarticulate hurt with utter conviction. His book is a microscopically drawn map of the way families inflict pain on themselves. There's not a cheap revelation or a fake insight to be found in its pages; Toibin's absolute lack of sentimentality and his refusal of easy consolation are the marks of a superb technician with a brave soul. The Blackwater Lightship is a great and humanizing novel." - Men's Journal, Mark Levine

This information about The Blackwater Lightship was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Colm Toibin Author Biography

Photo: Bruce Weber

Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including The Magician, his most recent novel; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; The Testament of Mary; and Nora Webster, as well as two story collections and several books of criticism. He is the Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. Three times shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

Link to Colm Toibin's Website

Name Pronunciation
Colm Toibin: CULL-um Toe-BEAN

Other books by Colm Toibin at BookBrowse
  • The Magician jacket

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