Night Boat to Tangier – Kevin Barry – Audio Book Review
Charlie Redmond and Maurice Hearne wait in the Algeciras ferry terminal in southern Spain. They are looking for a woman. ‘She’s a small girl, she’s a pretty girl’ they repeat to anyone that will listen, along with showing them a photo that is now three years old. The girl in question is Dilly, Charlie’s daughter. She disappeared some time ago and they’ve been searching for her ever since. They have reason to believe she may turn up at this ferry terminal to travel to Tangier today and it could be their last chance to find her before she disappears forever!
These are not two men who warrant a great deal of sympathy, despite their predicament. They have their own demons in their past and Dilly has many reasons for wanting to disappear out of their lives. The two men are career criminals; drug dealers and smugglers. They have also been users for many years, despite various attempts to kick the habit. They have a long history of extreme violence but at this point in time, they just want to find a missing girl.
This is the third novel by Kevin Barry, the Limerick born writer. His first novel, the City of Bohane was the winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His second book, Beatlebone, was published in 2015 and won the Goldsmiths Prize. This new novel was long-listed for the Booker prize this year. The recent film release ‘Dark Lies the Island‘ is also based on a work by Barry.
The novel is a sharp and at times extremely funny take on these two men, despite its dark subject matter. Barry has a natural comedic flair and there are moments that will have you laughing out loud (not the ideal read for public transport). For the Audiobook, Barry also reads the work so you get to hear his softly lilting Cork accent, which adds to the overall experience considerably. It has a unique Irish feel and some of the language and ideas couldn’t come from anywhere else.