Jill's Reviews > Night Boat to Tangier

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
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it was amazing

Kevin Barry is a word magician and his cadence absolutely hypnotized me. While immersed in this melancholic book, I surrendered to the sights and sounds of the Spanish port of Algeciras and the exotic landscape of Andalucia. The rest of the world ceased to exist.

There are definitely nods to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot: two characters who wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives, while engaging in a variety of discussions. In Kevin Barry’s book, two old-before-their-time shady drug-smugglers – Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond – wait at the ferry terminal for a young woman named Dilly, introduced as Maurice’s daughter.

As ferries arrive and leave again, the two men journey through their memories to earlier times that were punctuated with obsessive love, dangerous endeavors, betrayals, violence, and break-downs. They talk of ageing and dying, “what they have crossed and those they have helped, of their first loves of lost loves, of their enemies and friends. Their memories transport them to old days in Cork and in Barcelona, and in London, and in Malaga, and the ghosted city of Cadiz.

Gradually, the shattered shards of their past lives coalesce and a portrait emerges of who these men are to each other, what has brought them to this point of time, and the importance of Dilly to each of them.

This is an unquestionable 5-star book. It is not for everyone; those who prefer linear plots where a lot happens might want to look elsewhere. But for those who enjoy exquisite writing and its power to transform us and take us to places we’ve never been, Kevin Barry is your guy. Big thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

May 14, 2019 – Started Reading
May 14, 2019 – Shelved
May 17, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Your opening sentence sets the tone for a fine review Jill. Great review as always.


Jill Thanks, Carol. As always, Kevin Barry is mesmerizing.


switterbug (Betsey) Yes Yes YES! I agree 100% of your fine review!


message 4: by Mike (new)

Mike Wonderfully expressed review, Jill!!


message 5: by Jay (new) - added it

Jay My latest obsession is reading Irish writers. But you've got to stop these five star ratings: I can't keep up with you.


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