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Night Boat to Tangier

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  10,248 ratings  ·  1,382 reviews
In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen — Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs — sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter (or is she?), Dilly, to either arrive ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Doubleday (first published June 20th 2019)
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Rainer F Apparently, Mr. Fassbender has acquired the rights to make a film out of the book, but no further details have been provided. I would love to see a dr…moreApparently, Mr. Fassbender has acquired the rights to make a film out of the book, but no further details have been provided. I would love to see a dramatization of it on stage since a lot reminds me of Harold Pinter and, of course, Samuel Beckett. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,248 ratings  ·  1,382 reviews

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Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Delighted to see this on the Booker Longlist!

Kevin Barry is one of my favourite Irish writers and I approached this, his latest novel with a sense of great anticipation and delight. His prose is sublime and lyrical, with his adept shifts in tone, his use of the vernacular, his inclusions of the fantastical, the bad luck of fairy mounds, spells and curses, and the mystics conversing with the dead. It has shades of Waiting for Godot, Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, are old before their time, a
Night Boat to Tangier is a powerful and expressive novel with fascinating characters that have corrupted and harmed themselves and those around them for years. Kevin Barry's unflinching poetic style nails the moments that linger in the mind well after the book is closed.

Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond are two ageing, disfigured, Irish gangsters, waiting in a lifeless ferry terminal in Algeciras. They are waiting for Maurice’s daughter, Dilly, whom he hasn’t seen in 3 years. She will r
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-uk
Two weeks away from goodreads (exploring lovely Snowdonia, North Wales) and my reviews are beginning to stack up! - so, here goes ............

When we first meet Maurice and Charlie, a couple faded Irish crooks, they are not at their best.
A couple of baggy, fifty something years olds, hats at jaunty angles they sit folded, uncomfortably onto hard, shiny seats - gritty eyed and weary under the hard fizzing lights of Algeciras ferry terminal.
It’s sometime in the unforgiving early hours.
Usually they
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases
Night Boat to Tangier is not a caper or a ‘crime’ novel, but a character-driven story that just happens to be set in a gangster milieu. Along the way there is tragedy, comedy and the peculiar durability of friendships formed in youth.

Irish crooks Maurice and Charlie, lifelong partners in drug smuggling, are hanging about the ferry terminal at Algeciras hoping to locate an estranged daughter. As they wait for long hours, the story unfolds of these two colourful, wizened-beyond-their-years gan
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nominated for the Booker Prize 2019
This book is like a twisted psychological thriller directed by Quentin Tarantin, starring two aging Irish gangsters. It's also a ghost story. A story about Ireland and the search for freedom, if not deliverance. A story about mental illness. A story about drug addiction and dysfunctional families. Ooooh, Kevin Barry, this is a very, very clever book that constantly jumps and shifts, held together by the distinct voices of two men on the edge of mental breakdow
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Booker Prize Longlist 2019. Kevin Barry’s narration with his mesmerizing Irish accent is enchanting. Aging Irish ‘wise guys’ Charlie Redmond and Maurice Hearne are not! They are lying in wait at the Algeciras ferry terminal in southern Spain for the appearance of Dilly, Maurice’s 23-year-old estranged daughter. They have been hunting for her on-and-off for three years and have it on good authority that she will be traveling through the terminal this evening on her way to-or-from Tangier.

Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019

There is an alchemy about this book, which makes such poetry out of the lives of a pair of brutal unscrupulous drug dealing gangsters and eventually left me feeling sympathy for them.

In the first chapter we meet Maurice and Charlie, two Irishmen in their early fifties, who are waiting in the port at Algeciras where they have been told that Maurice's daughter Dill will be catching a ferry to Tangier. They have not heard from her for several years, and the way
The format and style for this book was overly confusing. The style reads like a play, but the format is just spacing without any indicators. For example, you frequently must figure out when a character is speaking. It was a lot of work.

The language also created a challenge. While many words were not found on my Kindle, some sentences didn’t even make sense to me. I am not sure if this is due to a cultural difference, but as a Westerner I was lost and confused about the context often.
The story w
Gumble's Yard
Now longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker Prize and re-read accordingly.

This brilliant review in the Dublin Review of Books expresses my views much better than I can

The author’s two previous novels each won a major prize (the Dublin Literary Award and the Goldsmith Prize) and the author, just after the Booker longlisting of this book, had a short story short listed for the prestigious Sunday Times Short Story Prize.

This book started as a screenplay – commis
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was a great, quick read. Shades of “Waiting for Godot”, two aging drug dealers wait at a Spanish port for a boat from Tangier that may be transporting a daughter of one of the men. She has been wandering since the death of her mother. In beautiful, evocative prose, Barry relates how the lives and fraught friendship of the two men lead them to this place. After a life of crime, violence, and mental illness, can they be redeemed by the one thing that still ties them together? I loved the writ ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-19
Kevin Barry is a new author for me and so I did not know what to expect going into this book. For some reason a had the idea of an exotic crime-caper but this is a rather charming character study of two ageing criminals. As with all novels that are lyrical in style, some parts failed to hold my interest, however whenever this novel dips towards boring it has the good graces to be beautifully boring.

I like to think if the Booker panel were to award a prize for "best chapter" ( hard to do becaus
Although I loved Kevin Barry's novel City of Bohane, it was impossible for me to find my sea legs with this latest tale.  At 100 pages in, I have regretfully chosen not to finish it.  I'm just reading words at this point, and that's not fair to anyone.  Looking at so many 5-star reviews already posted, it feels like I really missed the boat.
Peter Boyle
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"He adored Cynthia the first time he saw her. When she turned the twist of a smile on him, he felt like he'd stepped off the earth."

Two Irish gangsters, well past their prime, wait for a ferry in the sleepy Spanish port of Algeciras. Maurice Hearne, the one with the missing eye, is hoping to find his daughter Dilly, whom he hasn't seen in over three years. The limping Charlie Redmond, his old pal and business associate, hands out flyers of the missing girl and pesters the poor attendant at the I
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know I should like Kevin Berry’s novel Night Boat to Tangiers more than I do. After all, this book has been getting great reviews and it was longlisted for the Booker prize this year. Chip and Joanna Gaines were even overheard remarking that they loved this novel more than “open concept kitchens, rustic furniture made from rusty farm equipment, and shiplap.” !!!!! So even though I feel this novel rates only a solid three, I am going to post my rating as a 4 so no one will know what a thick-he ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5, rounded down.

Up to about the 60% point, I wasn't really liking this much, as I found it extremely difficult to follow, and the lack of both narrative cohesiveness and the use of obtuse language (I kept hitting the glossary on my Kindle, only to be told 'No definition found') made it more of a slog than I was prepared for. Yes, the language often took flight into lofty heights of lyrical ecstasy, but I am much more interested in plot than language, and that lack of a narrative just wasn't im
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's sad, it's rough and it's beautiful.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far from a traditional, plot driven crime novel, Night Boat to Tangier is perhaps better described as a character study of two ageing criminals, or an examination of the impact a lifestyle of crime has on relationships and our psyche. Barry is an outstanding storyteller. Although largely plotless, this novel is one that creates both a vivid sense of place and person. In few words, Barry seems able to say a lot about people, their evolution and weaknesses, and the fragility of our worlds in the f ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm throwing stars about like there's no end to them at the moment but: this is Barry's best work and is stupendously good, and forms part of a Booker longlist that's potentially as interesting/excellent as any I can remember.

'There comes a time when you just have to live among your ghosts. You keep the conversation going. Elsewise the broad field of the future opens out as nothing but a vast emptiness '
Kevin Barry believes in an economy of words. I love the concept and Barry has embraced it to the core for this novel. As a college professor, I constantly pushed this on my students, who thought more was better. I recently saw Barry (July 2019) in Armagh, Northern Ireland, in conversation with the Belfast-based writer, Jan Carson. He described his approach to writing, and in particular, the writing of this book. His process is to write and write and write, and then pull out the best parts. I oft ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Maurice and Charlie are both Irish, they are both in their fifties, and they are both dressed in cheap suits waiting at the Spanish port of Algeciras. They seem to be locked into a perpetual never ending conversation, jumping from stories of their past with the casual ease of long-time friends. One will start a sentence, the other will finish it. One will ask a question, the other will answer it. The reader will find it obvious from their demeanour that they
This was my second time through this book. I loved it on first read and the combination of its Booker listing and a long train journey made the perfect opportunity for a re-read.

Upfront - I loved it even more on second reading (you can’t tell this from my rating as I gave it 5 stars first time round).

It is October 2018 and Maurice Hearne and Charles Redmond, drug dealers, are keeping vigil at the Algeciras ferry terminal in Spain. They are on the lookout for Maurice’s daughter, Dilly, after rumo
Richard Derus
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, returned
Real Rating: 4.5* of five

Sunsets are biblical, nighttime flowers are dull amethysts, quiet rubies...a tiny, sultana-faced man in lilac slacks and a blazer beneath a pompadour appears to no affect...London's bones limned against weak and apologetic light...this is a beautiful read.

The story is horrible, two men...Maurice and Charlie...whose love of their loucheness and their criminality and their addictions, their love for each other that excludes all the women they adore so helplessly and whose
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book pushed all the literary buttons I like. Not much happens (check), excellent characterization (check), flourishes of stop-and-reread-that-sentence writing (check), and a dash of philosophy (checkmate).

At first it seems we're entering genre fiction with two bad-ass Irish thuggety-thug types waiting at the Spanish port of Algeciras. Maurice (Moss) and Charles (Charlie) might as well be waiting for Godot, but they're waiting instead for Moss' long-lost daughter, Dilly. "She's a small girl,
Eric Anderson
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot of “Night Boat to Tangier” isn’t what drew me to this book. Two aging Irish gangster wait at a Spanish port for a particular boat to arrive as they mull over the past and seek answers to what happened to one of their lost children named Dilly. Stories about gangsters usually put me off because many seem to revel in a kind of machismo that makes my eyes roll. But I enjoyed Kevin Barry’s previous novel “Beatlebone” so much that this is a writer I’ll eagerly follow no matter what subject h ...more
Kristy K
I struggled with this character driven, loose plot novel. I seem to be in the minority here, but I didn't find it engrossing, rather I found it at times to sound a little pretentious. The prose tended to be melodramatic, but I did like how atmospheric they were as well.

Literary fiction is not my favorite genre, so I don't know that I was the intended audience for this. I would caution anyone else who also reads few literary fiction books, but recommend it to those that enjoy it.

I received an ad
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you think about Cynthia, Maurice?
I try not to. She goes through me sometimes.
Into the middle distance they train their hard stares. There is a stock of hard knowledge to be drawn on. They know what they had once and what was lost.

Moss and Charlie are waiting for their daughter/niece Dilly who has been missing for three years to step off or onto the ferrys coming in and out from Tangier into the port of Algeciras, Spain. Over the next couple of days we learn about their youth, the drug runni
Paul Fulcher
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the port of Algeciras, in October 2018

Would you say there’s any end in sight, Charlie?

I’d say you nearly have an answer to that question already, Maurice.

Two Irishmen sombre in the dank light of the terminal make gestures of long-sufferance and woe– they are born to such gestures, and offer them easily.

Kevin Barry's debut novel City of Bohane (my review won the Dublin Literary Prize and his second Beatlebone (
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one is going straight to the top of my list.
Nancy Oakes
(read in August -- catching up here)

I couldn't wait for the US publication of this novel, which happens September 17th, so off to the UK it was for me via an online purchase. Money well spent, as it turns out; when I finished it, I noticed my spouse staring at me like "what?" because I was a wee bit choked up on turning the last page. It is such a fine book, really -- sad and moving with more than a touch of black humor, and for me, excellent. Then again,
Read By RodKelly
At times, plotless brilliance tends to shine the brightest because the characters populating the perfect pages of their self-contained worlds are seen looking out from their frayed interiors, without the trappings and weight of linear or non-linear happenings dragging them along. So it goes in Night Boat to Tangier, Kevin Barry's immaculate and meticulously crafted work of pure genius. It is a feast for the reader who delights in language: every sentence, an event; every word, a pearl on a gilde ...more
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Kevin Barry is an Irish writer. He is the author of two collections of short stories, and the novel City of Bohane, which was the winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

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11 likes · 9 comments
“But now he came up to himself slowly again—it was like rising through heavy water—and he was warmed by one of the great consolations: nothing very terrible lasts for very long.” 5 likes
“It’s freedom, she says. It’s poverty, Charlie says. Poverty is always for free.” 3 likes
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