Night Boat to Tangier

Kevin Barry     Pages: 214     Published: 2019

The book: It’s evening and two middle-aged Irish gangsters sit in the terminal at the old port of Algeciras, Spain, waiting for a ferry from Tangier. They’re looking for a girl called Dilly. But why are they trying to find her?  What is her connection to them? And, does Dilly want to be found?

You might like it because: Barry has created vivid and very real characters who will move readers, whether they like them or not. This is a tragic and emotional tale told with a lot of very dark humor. Barry’s ability to create a sense of real menace with his words will have you on the edge of your seat.

What did other people say?
“If the set-up evokes Beckett the dramatist, the language of Night Boat to Tangier is much more like that of Beckett the novelist. . . Dense and evocative. . .This is rich fare.”
Financial Times, (U.K)

“But what distinguishes this book beyond its humour, terror and beauty of description is its moral perception. For this is no liberal forgiveness tract for naughty boys: it is a plunging spiritual immersion into the parlous souls of wrongful men. …Yet it is impossible to finish the novel without loving and caring for each protagonist in all their verbose fallibility.  –  Alan Warner, The Guardian, (U.K.)

Awards & Recognition:
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019
#1 Irish Times Bestseller

How quickly will you get into the book? It took me till about page 30 to get hooked, and at that point I still wasn’t sure where the story was going. But Barry’s writing is addictive and pulled me along till I could not put the book down.

You might not like it because: The book opens in 2018 Spain. Much of the story is then told via flashbacks to the 1990s and the early 2000s. Some readers may not enjoy jumping back and forward in time and the way the plot is revealed, piece by piece, using the flashbacks.

What might you read next?
In an interview with the Paris Review, Barry said, “All my favorite books have humor in them. I finally got round to reading the Hilary Mantel Booker winners—Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies…they’re hilarious. Such a treat. She’s got really tremendous gifts as a comic writer.”

Why not read the first of Mantel’s Booker winners: Wolf Hall.

Or read something completely different but stick with an Irish theme; pick up Tana French’s detective story: The Trespasser.

© 2019

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