The Blackwater Lightship (Paperback)

By Colm Toibin

Scribner Book Company, 9780743203319, 288pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2001



It is Ireland in the early 1990s. Helen, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother, Dora have come together to tend to Helen's brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. With Declan's two friends, the six of them are forced to plumb the shoals of their own histories and to come to terms with each other.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Blackwater Lightship is a deeply resonant story about three generations of an estranged family reuniting to mourn an untimely death. In spare, luminous prose, Colm Toibin explores the nature of love and the complex emotions inside a family at war with itself. Hailed as "a genuine work of art" (Chicago Tribune), this is a novel about the capacity of stories to heal the deepest wounds.

Praise For The Blackwater Lightship

Francine Prose

Beautifully crafted...spare and devastating...

The Wall Street Journal

The Blackwater Lightship is the most perfect work on the Booker list...The prose is economical and deft, and the book is rich with entrancing stories.

Jim Marks
The Washington Post Book World

...supple, beautifully modulated prose, complex relationships and careful construction...a powerful and absorbing novel.

Mark Levin
Men's Journal

Tóibín is a superb technician with a brave soul. The Blackwater Lightship is a great and humanizing novel.

Robert Sullivan

Tóibín writes with high-voltage restraint.

Judy Lightfoot
The Seattle Times

So much is here and you long to grasp it whole...the best new novel this reviewer has read all year.