Blackwater Lightship – by Colm Toibin – A Book Review 08-10-14

In a world where 3 generations of women rarely share the same house Blackwater Lightship is the story of how three generations do just that, albeit for a short time, and each learn how to enjoy it in their own way.

Grandmother provides the home for daughter and granddaughter to learn how they can get along after many years of hate and unspoken anger. Grandmother takes advantage of having others in her house to get daughter off her back and gets help planning her ending in a positive way.

Daughter resigns herself to admitting her faults and asking for forgiveness in order to go on with life. And granddaughter – she gets to address and forgive the demons she’s been carting around for 20+ years.

The avenue for this is Grandson, who has aids, and comes to Grandmothers house to die. His two best friends come with him and provide the means for the women to open up about many things. Discussing openly their son’s/grandson’s/brothers sexual orientation is not a big discussion but an avenue to talking frankly about other historic family issues.

The gay friends are odd and querky and cold, which felt right for the rest of the family yet at odds with Grandmother’s world. A world you only get a glimpse of and never really feel comfortable in. They just appear and disappear leaving you with the three generations of women and I never felt whether they felt good about the part they played in the story.

Well written and easy to read after you once get over a difficult section on the setting.