It is Ireland in the early 1990's. Three women - Dora Devereux, her daughter Lily and her granddaughter Helen - have arrived, after years of strife, at and uneasy peace.
For Helen's adored brother Declan is dying, and the three of them join him in the grandmother's crumbling old house by the sea with two of his friends.
These six, from different generations and with different beliefs, are forced to listen to each other and come to terms with each other. "We shall be reading and living with "The Blackwater Lightship" in twenty years." - "Independent on Sunday". "I know of no novelist under fifty who is Toibin's equal. And in this, his fourth book, his prose rises to heights of an extraordinary beauty." - Paul Binding, "Independent on Sunday". "It is in his emotional choreography that Toibin shows himself to be an exceptional writer.
Helen is estranged from both her mother and grandmother...
Toibin helps them make peace - and he does it beautifully." - David Robson, "Sunday Telegraph". "This is the most astonishing piece of writing, lyrical in its emotion and spare in its construction...
Toibin has crafted an unmissable read." - Julia Neuberger, "Glasglow Sunday Herald.""He writes in spare, powerful prose and he is truly perceptive about family relationships which, at times, makes reading his stories incredibly painful.
But this is a beautiful novel." - Nuala McCann, "Belfast News".
S 2001 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
S 1999 Booker Prize for Fiction