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Night Boat to Tangier

Narrated by: Kevin Barry
Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.89

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019
The Number One Irish Times Best Seller

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 it is obsessed, above all, with the mysteries of love. A tragicomic masterwork from a multi-award-winning writer, Night Boat to Tangier is both mordant and hilarious, lyrical yet laden with menace. 

©2019 Kevin Barry (P)2019 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Gloriously freewheeling." (Guardian

“Barry is a marvel: menacing, insistent, switching from brooding descriptions of the men’s nocturnal surroundings to their terse dialogue. The conviction with which he explores their search for Charlie’s missing daughter never fails.” (Financial Times, Audiobooks)

"A true wonder." (Max Porter)

"Beautifully written." (Guardian)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

ONE of the best books I've ever read

This book is so brilliant, dark, funny and Irish. I listened to it once, then bought the eBook. I'm now listening to it and reading it at the same time (well, not literally). Every sentence is amazing. There is not a wasted word in the whole book. One of my favourite books, ever. Barry is a great reader. You have to hear him to get the Irish idioms and cadences. But you have to read it in print as well to savour every fascinating word.

1 person found this helpful

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Vladimir and Estragon Reprise

Basically a chat between two aging Irish scoundrels with a rather bizarre background in drug running. Funny and poignant in turn the (back) story purrs along aided and abetted by the mellifluous tones of the author.

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Great story.. Great characters

Great story. Great characters. Loved ambling along with the two boys. Narration was just perfect.

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  • ewa
  • 04-02-2020

Awful reading

I don't know whether the book is good because I could only get through one chapter. The reading is truly bad, soft-pornesque style with weird intonation and pauses that don't go with the content. I couldn't bear this for several hours...

17 people found this helpful

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  • Wickham Woman
  • 20-08-2019

My book of 2019

This is the audiobook that provides the ultimate justification for the author reading his own work. Kevin Barry’s quiet, insinuating ‘Cork’ accent conveys all the wit and menace of the two protagonists, and a richly atmospheric sense of danger around the ports of Bearhaven, Barcelona or Algeciras. I was puzzled at first by the mispronunciation of the Spanish until I realised that we listening to two Irishmen who have been resolute in their unwillingness to learn the language. The two drug dealers, now in their 50s and down on their luck wait endlessly for a daughter arriving on the ferry from Tangier. It’s Waiting for Godot recast for the 2st century. They have done awful things yet are ultimately forgivable in their humanity and their washed up lives provide a compelling narrative. The best book I have heard or read this year.

13 people found this helpful

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  • jolaura86
  • 12-01-2020

Get a voice actor!

Only a few minutes into the book so far and will try to persevere as the story sounds engaging, but the author reading the book is awful! It’s so overacted it’s embarrassing and very off-putting. He sounds totally over invested in trying to ‘set the scene’ with a cheesy, trying too hard, ‘dramatic’ voice. His writing speaks for itself, no need for the audiobook am dram! I’d highly recommend that the author sticks to writing and lets a voice actor read his books in future.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 18-01-2020

Excellent narration of a hugely enjoyable book.

Ordinarily a few reviews complaining about the reader would be enough to turn me off a book given some of the shockers on audible. As this was read by the author I decided it might be worth giving it a chance and was very glad I did.

The reading, variously critiqued as being wrongly or too slowly paced, holds the key to the form of the book (only evident when you see it in print) the conversations are written out like a play text, often with line gaps inbetween. Setting comparisons to Samuel Beckett aside I'd contend that there are other literary influences at work here, namely Harold Pinter who famously used pauses to say as much as speech. (Once you've thought of Pinter it's hard not to think of Martin McDonaghs re-working of Pinter in the film In Bruges as being influential here too).

This opens up the depths of this text which reveals itself in hints and says as much in omission as inclusion. When it offers descriptions they are startling beautiful, Barry's writing on weather is superlative.The whole book is a rich pleasure to read and lingers in the mind afterwards. I fully intend to revisit this for a closer reading as I cannot shake the feeling that Charlie and Maurice are two sides of the same man.

5 people found this helpful

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  • john kelly
  • 26-11-2019

Wonderful- Shades of Joyce and Beckett

Very much in the tradition of Irish writing. Word crafted with great care. It sings!
It is reminiscent of Beckett and Joyce in a cerebral way.
Kevin’s reading is intense - honouring the writing days he put into it.
His delivery is a bit too theatrical.
Can I suggest a hot tip. Listen to it at 1.25 speed rather than 1.00. I found that much better.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Urska
  • 13-02-2020

Terrible narration

I barely made it through Chapter 1 before returning the book. The author uses no inflections, overpronounces random words and uses the same identical voice for all protagonists. I couldn't make out what was what. I see from the reviews that some people liked his style though. Definitely listen to a preview before buying this one.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lu
  • 27-12-2019

Narration was too monotonous

Having tried to listen to the first chapter 3 times, I've given up and returned the title.
The narrator has a lovely voice but his over dramatic whispering is difficult to listen to. The book is read by tte author and his passion for the story is evident but over-emphysis means that at times it becomes a bit William Shatner's 'Captain Kirk', where Every. Word. Is. It's. Own. Sentence.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Busy of Devon
  • 16-11-2019

Brilliant writer, the Cormac McCarthy of Ireland, but convincing reader he aint!

I love Kevin Barry’s work. He’s a fabulous rich and sharp writer, the sort who could make other writers abandon their profession but this was ruined for me from the start by the author’s overacted narration. It opens with such wonderful phrases as “He unfolds his long bones”, writing so skilfully vivid, with dazzlingly effective imagery crafted by an acerbic writer oozing with confidence on the crest of a literary wave. BUT his reading isn’t up to his spectacular writing. I recently heard him read his short story In a Forest Park in Radio 4 and he did a much better, sensitive job. With Night Boat to Tangier he started in an over affected way, far too zealous and florid even when narrating outside of the characters. It ruined it for me and I just couldn’t listen. I was wincing. You could feel him straining to act it when the language does not need such gilding. It speaks for itself. Sorry Audible but stick to real actors who don’t overdo it. I stopped listening and will buy the book instead. Win win for Barry, but not for Audible.

7 people found this helpful

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  • alangdaly
  • 18-01-2020

Great use of language. very vivid and descriptive

The author has a great use of language and captures corconian culture very well. The characters are very easy to imagine. It was an enjoyable listen and I would recommend it

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph Dunne
  • 27-08-2019

Sublime storytelling

What a beautifully written tale, lyrical and poetic prose ( if you can have such a thing) juxtaposed with the coarseness of the Cork accent and the even coarser language. This sometimes melancholy sometimes hilarious novel was an enthralling listening and I highly recommend it.

2 people found this helpful