Description: It is Ireland in the early 1990s. Helen, her mother Lily, and her grandmother Dora have come together, after a decade of estrangement, to tend to Helen’s beloved brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. Under the crumbling roof of Dora’s old house, Declan’s two friends join the women as each waits for the end. The six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, are forced to plumb the shoals of their own histories and to come to terms with each other. “The Blackwater Lightship” is a beautifully written, deeply resonant story about three generations of an estranged family reuniting to mourn a tragic, untimely death. In spare, luminous prose, Colm Tiibin explores the nature of love and the complex emotions inside a family at war with itself. His fourth novel is about morals and manners, and the clashes of culture and personality. But most of all, it is a novel about the incomparable capacity of stories to heal the deepest wounds.
FOR AIDAN DUNNE
Opening: Helen woke in the night to the sound of Manus whimpering. She lay still and listened, hoping that he would quieten and turn on his side and sleep, but when his voice became louder and more insistent and she could vaguely make out words, she got out of bed and moved towards the boys’ room; she was unsure whether he was dreaming or awake.
Instantly accessible – the minute the front page is opened I was whisked into a Dublin night (rain expected) party complete with impromptu singing and dancing after a grand chili con carne supper.
TR The Master
CR The Blackwater Lightship
4* Nora Webster
LIDA – The Testament of Mary – subject matter does not appeal