An oldie but goodie by Colm Toibin. The Blackwater Lightship takes place in Ireland in the 1990’s. Helen, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother, Dora, are in Dora’s home nursing Helen’s brother, Declan who is dying from AIDS. They have just learned of his situation from his friends Larry and Paul who have been helping Declan since the onset of his illness. As the six characters live together in Dora’s tiny house we learn about their histories and personalities.
Yes, The Blackwater Lightship is depressing and yes, only a few things are resolved at the end the novel, but Toibin is such a fine writer, that, for me, they don’t matter. This rather short work touches on many issues in such a creative, complex and compassionate way.