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Summary

Set in Ireland in the 1990s, Colm Tóibín's The Blackwater Lightship tells the story of the Devereux family. 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 to and come to terms with one another.

©1999 Colm Toibin (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Blackwater Lightship

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Beautifully explored family relationships

Colm Toibin has a sensibility in writing his female characters which is simply awe inspiring. They are flawed and familiar and utterly real. This story follows the last weeks of a son, brother and grandson dying of aids in Ireland last century and the family fall out and redemptive rapprochement that ensues. Brilliantly written and read with calm dignity and restrained emotional power. Excellent.

9 people found this helpful

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Heart rending

A delicately elegant story of a fractured family brought together through the challenge of caring for a loved one.

6 people found this helpful

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Introspective and compelling

As expected, Toibin’s exploration of a fractured family is compelling. Although written over 20 years ago, it remains fresh and it’s easy to imagine that it remains a relevant reflection of disparate lives and small town attitudes.

The story centres on Helen who lives happily in Dublin with her husband and two children. She’s estranged from her mother and grandmother, but an unexpected call to see her sick brother, Declan, in hospital has repercussions.

Toibin is skilled at bringing characters to life and this book is no exception. He explores some difficult themes including illness, death, petty jealousies, resentment and the real nature of love and friendship. By flashback, the listener learns the backstory of the central characters and the reasons for relationship breakdowns. Will they be able to trust and love again?

Narration throughout is superb. Really enjoyed this well rounded tale

4 people found this helpful

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Sensitive and beautiful story read perfectly

Gentle, touching story with realistic characters I quickly warmed to and felt l was privileged to witness their story. Narration is perfect and thank you to Ms Cusack for the care with which she told the story xx

3 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

This book is touching and warm. Written with such care bringing out the light and dark of the subjects. I didn’t want to finish it, it’s had a lasting effect of me.Stunning!

3 people found this helpful

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Moving and thought- provoking family story ,

Complex relationship between mother and daughter who finally find courage to face each other's pain and open up

2 people found this helpful

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An extraordinary book

Colm Toibin explores complex family relationships in the most wonderfully sensitive and skilled way and the reader has the most beautiful voice that I could listen to all day. A real tour de force and very moving . One to remember .

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20 years later, still brilliant

I read this first in the early 00s. Now living near Blackwater, the poignancy of the book lands differently, but still a beautiful read.

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So well written and read.

I’m a real fan of Colm Tóibín and this is another warm and touching tale. Characters superbly crafted and a first class reading to boot - listened to it in one session as I needed to find out where the story was going!

Don’t be put off by the blurb, if you want to listen to a fantastic well told tale of family history, communication, past hurts, present worries and future opportunities, this one is highly recommended.

I don’t know if it’s a peculiarly Irish thing but Tóibín’s insight into family dynamics is so on the mark. Brilliant!

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The Blackwater Lightship

This is a great story and so beautifully read it made me cry at times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sue C
  • 01-01-19

Read it twice back to back

This exquisitely written and narrated tale is about three generations of women in one family,apparently on a path to disintegration, who are brought together and reach a rapprochement because of the inevitable death of a brother.I was so moved by the realization that my daughter had never been part of three generations of women in one family. I was estranged from my mother before she was born. I now have a lovely granddaughter and I hope that with the help of her mother we are able to sustain a gentle and loving relationship without the need of a tragedy to hold us together.

2 people found this helpful