Night Boat to Tangier

Night Boat to Tangier

3.69 (9,927 ratings by Goodreads)
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'A true wonder' Max Porter
'Beautifully written' Guardian

It's late one night at the Spanish port of Algeciras and two fading Irish gangsters are waiting on the boat from Tangier. A lover has been lost, a daughter has gone missing, their world has come asunder - can it be put together again?

Night Boat to Tangier is a novel drenched in sex and death and narcotics, in sudden violence and old magic. But above all, it is a book obsessed with the mysteries of love. A tragicomic masterwork from the award-winning Kevin Barry, Night Boat to Tangier is a work of melancholy beauty, wit and lyrical brilliance.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 144 x 220 x 24mm | 359g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1782116176
  • 9781782116172
  • 51,968

Review quote

Beautifully written . . . Skilful * * Forbes * * Booze-soaked and lovelorn . . . with beat-perfect dialogue and the diamond-grade schlock of an HBO script . . . [with] a thousand wicked turns of phrase . . . Night Boat to Tangier is a darkly heady mood, thick enough and sweet enough to drink * * The List * * Barry is a writer of the first rate, and his prose is at turns lean and lyrical, but always precise * * Publishers Weekly * * A bone fide Kevin Barry - it's very funny and very beautifully composed. . It's social realism, psychological realism, but with Barry's pointed wit, stupendous dialogue, and unerring tenderness -- Bookmunch The pleasure to be found in this relatively short book is in the telling, plus the author's clear evocative prose that often deploys lines and paragraphs that suggest music but it's not the speedy pace of step dancing. Rather it is the sad, slow, and beautiful music of time * * Washington Times * * A writer of inspired prose, a funny and perceptive artist who can imbue a small story with tremendous depth . . . Night Boat to Tangier is a sad, lyrical beauty of a novel about regret, from a dependably entertaining and perceptive writer * * Star Tribune * * Barry has a knack for dialogue . . . Night Boat to Tangier is remarkable, a novel that's both grim and compassionate, and it features gorgeous writing on every page. Barry never asks the reader to pity his characters; rather, he makes it nearly impossible not to relate to them, which is a remarkable trick -- NPR The story of two Irish criminal biding their time in the Spanish port city of Algeciras, is full of foreboding and of ghosts, not least that of Samuel Beckett, and is continuing proof of this writer's ability to pack more personality and mordant wit into a single sentence than most writers can manage in a novel . . . By far one of my favorite novels of the year * * Literary Hub, Books of the Year * * Inventive -- BENJAMIN MYERS * * Big Issue, Books of the Year * * Impishly funny, shrewdly affecting, and pays elegant homage to a long literary line. Barry grows in stature with every book * * Big Issue, Books of the Year * * One of the most gifted fiction writers to emerge from the English-speaking world in the new century * * Paris Review * * A meditation on love and crime, in which two elderly Irish gangsters await their reckoning in Algeciras * * i, Best Books of the Year * * You read this, and you can tell Barry doesn't take his sentences lightly. It'd kill him to mess one up. And he doesn't waste them. So what you get is his style's flawless, and yet it isn't soft. There isn't anything nice about the story, just that it's told beautifully -- NICO WALKER, author of CHERRY Full of foreboding and of ghosts, not least that of Samuel Beckett, and is continuing proof of this writer's ability to pack more personality and mordant wit into a single sentence than most writers can manage in a novel * * Literary Hub * * A darkly incantatory tragicomedy of love and betrayal, haunted lineage and squandered chances . . . Beautifully paced, emotionally wise. Spare in its prose, capacious in its understanding, it's as eerily attuned as his last one, Beatlebone * * Boston Globe * * Deeply satisfying . . . Magical . . .Barry's narrative pacing creates and then brilliantly settles the tensions between his characters. For all readers of literary fiction * * Library Journal * * The male codependents in his latest novel, Night Boat to Tangier, are proudly reptilian. As they announce with indecent pride, they wear excellent fucking shoes. Barry specialises in character pairings - death-driven, addicted to each other - in a way reminiscent of Beckett -- Nicole Flattery * * London Review of Books * * A desolate ferry terminal on the Spanish coast isn't a place where you'd expect to encounter sharp-edged lyricism or rueful philosophy, but thanks to the two Irish gangster antiheroes of Barry's novel, there's plenty of both on display . . . Their banter is a shield against the dark, a witty new take on Waiting for Godot * * New York Times, Books of the Year * * The work of a genuine artist: a writer who surprises and enlightens with everything he does * * Sunday Business Post * * Entertaining . . . Kevin Barry channels the music in every voice, from lowlife philosopher to slow-footed thug, ponderous wit to fluting child - and the comic genius in everyone, whether unfunny fool or God's own comedian * * Washington Post * * Among the next generation of writers - Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer and so on - the one that stands above the rest for ambition, language and sheer verve is Barry . . . If you haven't heard of him yet, you soon will. I'd wager he'll wind up with the Nobel Prize for Literature before he's done * * Evening Standard * * It is an understatement to say that nobody writes quite like Kevin Barry; in truth, there's nobody else in the same phylum. In Night Boat to Tangier you'll find all the Barry hallmarks - that inimitable style of his, both riotous and lyrical, the sly humour, and his seemingly effortless ability to create characters who spring to glorious life within a few short pages. I imagine you'll love this book just as I did, and wish, if anything, that you could spend just a little more time in the world Barry conjures -- CRAIG DAVIDSON Heartfelt yet darkly hilarious and simmering with menace, written with the kind of earthy lyricism only Kevin Barry can pull off - I loved it -- PAUL HOWARTH Vivid * * New Statesman * * Briskly told, in short paragraphs, with a dark wit and deftly managed suspense * * Literary Review * * Barry, arch-divil of Irish literature and a feverishly unique mangler of the English language, is back with a third novel . . . The Barry brew of mayhem, violence and tenderness is still undeniably potent. He is out on his own in the broad scheme of things, and so much here reminds you of why this is so and what he can do when airborne * * Irish Independent * * Heir to Beckett and O'Brien . . . Barry is a truly astonishing writer . . . Although the sheer bravado of the prose is a marvel, page after page, it is the emotive core behind it all which makes it remarkable -- Stuart Kelly * * Scotland on Sunday * * Excellent -- DAVID NICHOLLS Kevin Barry's way with language is unique. The spring and bounce of it. The dark poetry. The cheek. And then there's the sheer joyful recklessness of his imagination. There's really no one to rival him -- RUPERT THOMSON Utterly compelling . . . Reading him, I am given the feeling that I've achieved something, done something good and am being justly remunerated. The brain lights up and grins -- Niall Griffiths * * Spectator * * Buoyant . . . Barry is such a deft and generous writer * * New York Times * * One of the most abundantly talented novelists writing today * * Daily Telegraph * * Kevin Barry is one of the best. The essence of humanity and its many facets is buried deep in his bones, ready to be unearthed and exhibited in signature Barry style * * Irish Examiner * * The gods of literature, who have so much love for Ireland, are sweet on Kevin Barry -- RICHARD BEARD Haunting . . . A sharply comic meditation on male friendship and the true cost of crime on the soul * * i, best books of 2019 * * Thrilling * * Daily Telegraph * * Barry's ear for dialogue remains tip-top * * Daily Mail * * There's plenty of sex, drugs, death and magic in Night Boat to Tangier, but above all it is a biting, black comedy of manners, driven by the profane dance of gangster etiquette -- COLIN BARRETT Barry's prose, which melds violence, profane comedy and tender lyricism, will be warmly embraced by those who read and loved the dystopian nightmare that was City of Bohane, his breakthrough book. Newcomers will, I'm sure, relish getting swept up in Barry's twisted universe for the first time * * Spectator, best summer reads for 2019 * * Barry writes with real exuberance * * Sunday Times * * A bloody mighty novel. It's audacious, but also it's Kevin Barry at his most tender. The novel carries a beautiful, mournful undertow to it, which is particularly affecting in a book so heavy with old myth and new poetry. May he keep twisting literature forever -- LISA McINERNEY Stunning. One of the most affecting love stories I have ever come across -- MIKE McCORMACK Kevin Barry is one of the most original, daring, and seriously funny writers ever to come out of Ireland. I'd walk a hundred miles for a new Barry book and I would make the happy journey home, laughing -- COLUM McCANN Infused with a uniquely Irish mixture of melancholy and myth, and written in a prose rich with the cadences of poetry, Barry's fifth work of fiction is witty, gritty and wise; it offers a sense of what it means to be fallible, to be human and to love. Sublime * * Irish Mail on Sunday * * Lines that make me want to punch the air like I'm singing the final song from an 80s power ballad . . . Night Boat to Tangier suggests the past comes in waves, relentlessly, always different and yet always the same, and all we can put against it are the shifting sands of our present self * * Herald * * Barry tells his grim story in Beckettian flashes of poetry . . . The relationship between Maurice and Charlie drives this often hilarious novel -- Kate Saunders * * The Times * * Lyrical, elegiac, taut and strange -- IAN RANKIN In this latest novel, the Irish writer has almost invented a new genre, a fascinating hybrid of poetry, prose and drama . . . Mesmeric, exquisite . . . Night Boat to Tangier draws on the terrific vernacular energy in Irish English that is animating the best of Irish writing at present . . . This is a remarkably achieved novel which shows a writer in full command of the possibilities of the form * * Irish Times * * Kevin Barry is still young, but in this novel he has found a deep and aged maturity; all the recognisable Barry phraseology and wit is still there, but there's also now a lovely melancholic kindness. Perhaps even a sentimentality, in the best sense of that word. Kevin Barry loves you; the least you can do is read this wonder of a novel -- JON McGREGOR Loved this! Made me nostalgic for people I've never met, places I've never been. Life distilled -- GRAHAM NORTON A rogue gem of a novel . . . The seedy underbelly of a Spanish port and a stony Irish town are the backdrop for a story of misdeeds, madness and loss that swells with poetry and pathos -- BOOKER PRIZE JUDGES 2019 Two ageing Irish drug smugglers sit in a Spanish ferry terminal trading absurd jokes and quasi-philosophical banter in this tautly written novel * * New Yorker * * Captures male friendship with rare brilliance . . . The pair's vaudevillian patter, dancing back and forth with an irrepressibly buoyant Irish rhythm, reminds you of Didi and Gogo in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, while their gleefully ominous threats of violence bristle off the page in a way that recalls Harold Pinter or Martin McDonagh . . . Startlingly good * * Independent * * Brilliantly funny and terrifying at once, I was completely lost inside its dark craziness. Barry blends glorious voluptuous prose with entrancing storytelling -- TESSA HADLEY Extremely talented creator, Kevin Barry, has a fine instinct for the sweet spot where the comforting familiarities of genre blend into the surprises and provocations of art . . . Powerfully evoked * * New York Times Book Review * * Barry is riding the waves with Night Boat to Tangier . . . Reminiscent of Waiting for Godot * * The Times * * If prose were gold and diamonds there'd be thousands of hell-bent prospectors heading for the Black Hills of Kevin Barry's glistening, sparkling novel -- SEBASTIAN BARRY The novel 2019 has been waiting for - a masterpiece delivered by a glittering talent at the peak of his powers. It leaves the rest of the class looking somewhat underpowered and unambitious, perhaps even a bit shop-worn . . . If Beatlebone was his breakout work, Night Boat to Tangier should cement the Irishman's place among the literary elite * * Big Issue * * It's a Kevin Barry novel, so the brilliance is expected; everything else is a brilliant surprise -- RODDY DOYLE I devoured Night Boat to Tangier. I loved the potent truth of it all, drenched in damage and romance. The Barry turn of phrase is a true wonder of this world -- MAX PORTER A blackly comic journey into the abyss . . . Beautifully written . . . Barry is a clarvoyant narrator of the male psyche and a consistent lyrical visionary . . . What distinguishes this book beyond its humour, terror and beauty of description is its moral perception . . . It is a plunging spiritual immersion into the parlous souls of wrongful men -- Alan Warner * * Guardian * *
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About Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry is the author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize and the Lannan Foundation Literary Award. His stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta and elsewhere. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter, and he lives in County Sligo, Ireland. Night Boat to Tangier was an Irish Times bestseller, was longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.
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Rating details

9,927 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 24% (2,410)
4 36% (3,601)
3 27% (2,696)
2 9% (923)
1 3% (297)
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