Night Boat to Tangier

A Novel
Narrated by: Kevin Barry
Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (406 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2019 
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book ReviewLit Hub, The MillionsThe Paris Review, and NPR 
Number One Irish Times Best Seller
Longlisted for The Booker Prize  

From the acclaimed author of the international sensations City of Bohane and Beatlebone, a striking and gorgeous new novel of two aging criminals at the tail ends of their damage-filled careers. A superbly melancholic melody of a novel full of beautiful phrases and terrible men.

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, Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals, and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humor and the hard-boiled Hibernian lyricism that have made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today.

©2019 Kevin Barry (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Try the name Flann O'Brien. Try James Joyce. Try Roddy Doyle. Try Patrick McCabe. Try Wilde, try McGahern, try Behan. And now try the name Kevin Barry. See how it fits in perfectly among the others - 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, author of Let the Great World Spin)

"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)

"It’s a Kevin Barry novel, so the brilliance is expected; everything else is a brilliant surprise." (Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha)

What listeners say about Night Boat to Tangier

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Two Spooky Guys Waiting…

“Night Boat to Tangier” offers a spooky look at two aging gangsters sitting around a ferry terminal in Algeciras, Spain. They are waiting to find the older’s daughter, Dilly, expected to pass through on her way to or from Tangier. The two men mostly reminisce about the old days, when they dealt a lot of drugs, committed their share of violence, fell for beautiful women and spent their money foolishly. Maurice and Charlie, the two men, make entertaining company. Their conversation is intimate, amusing, often passive-aggressive. They are sensitive brutes who have done repellant things. But at this stage of their lives, they have accepted the past, and they can look back stoically on the pain they have both caused and suffered. Kevin Barry narrates the novel, and you can sense his deep affection for his characters. He reads with an intense near-whisper. There is an unrelenting drive in the narration, and I sometimes wondered if a professional narrator would have done a better job modulating the tone and differentiating the voices of the men. But overall, the narration added to the ghostly quality of this dark bromance.

13 people found this helpful

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A grim topic handled honestly

Kevin Barry is a terrific writer and dynamic narrator. In Night Boat to Tangier, he captures our attention immediately with the dialog between two central characters, and the vivid, grimy setting they occupy in his opening setting. Though not normally drawn to this kind of grimy plot, I can appreciate a writer's honesty. Throughout the story is unfolded and revealed the depth of caring between friends, the pain and betrayal inflicted by their addictions, their involvement in the drug trade. Barry is able to untangle the story for us, letting us understand a bit of the intensity of the pain and the humor that grows from shared experiences between old friends with this dangerous shared history.

7 people found this helpful

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The best book I've ever listened to on Audible.

Seriously; this is the best story I've ever heard out of my 350+ books downloaded on audible. It was so good that I actually listened to it at 0.8x speed.. I slowed it down because I didn't want it to end.. I often listen to books at 1.5x because I just have to get through them.. Not this one.. Being an American, I had a few problems with some of the Irish colloquialisms, but reading enough and traveling to Europe often give me an a foundation to put it together.. The narration was like Nick Cave with a hangover.. The Dark humor and wry observations took the edge off bleak situations. If a reader didn't pick up on the innate humor of the book; it could be viewed as desolate. Using the timeline as a chaotic tool to paint the situation as a series of flashbacks and memories worked well. He's the Kurt Cobain of metaphor creation. I couldn't imagine another narrator being able to intone the novel so well. Usually, writers are good at writing and actors are good at reading, luckily Kevin Barry has both of those talents. Brilliant!

5 people found this helpful

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exceptional

what else can I say? Ex mother f-ing ceptional! if u only read one piece of fiction this year, make it this one

3 people found this helpful

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Beware of authors reading their own novels ...

The author hisses out his story as if he is suffering from a sore throat. If it’s meant to be for dramatic effect ... it fails miserably. It’s just annoying. His voice has no variation from person to person. There is no one that inspires any degree of sympathy. The first part of the story seems to concentrate on making each individual more obnoxious than the next. Plenty of gratuitous profanity ... ‘and I don’t like anyone very much’...

3 people found this helpful

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thumbs up

Masterful, beautiful, but bleak. I recommend this with a slight caution that it is not a happy story. That said, it is wonderfully narrated and really gets into the skulls of each character.

3 people found this helpful

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Special and Unique

First Kevin Barry book. So glad I picked Audible because his narration is the most rewarding of my last 20 picks. The story is compelling, and his use of the language is masterful. This may be the first of about 100 Audible books I listen to a 2nd time.

2 people found this helpful

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That's Limerick Cityyy

Discovered this author through the Blindboy Boatclub podcast. Only mad bastards in the west of Ireland.

8 people found this helpful

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Not much to the story

While the writing is great, filled with descriptions that you can taste, see, and smell, there wasn't much of a story to pull me into or through this novel. The two main characters are indistinct from each other. Most of the story itself is told in flashback. I listened to the audio during the time of the Covid-19 Quarantine, while I took walks, and as I drove to say good-bye to my brother, who died from unrelated causes. It wasn't a good time for this book. Still, I need a STORY, not just a string of beautiful words and harsh descriptions about two old guys who will die with regrets. This was a book club pick (not mine), and most of the women in my book club liked it. One of them is excited to RE-read it!

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding

I can’t imagine the print version being nearly as good. Stunning reading by the author. I am going to listen again right now.,Beautiful writing And memorable insights.

1 person found this helpful