Night Boat to Tangier

Knopf. Sept. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9780385540315. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385540322. f ;.
Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond while away the hours in a ferry terminal in Algeciras, Spain, on the lookout for Maurice’s daughter, Dilly, rumored to be traveling between Spain and Morocco. To pass the time, the middle-aged men reminisce about their intertwined lives and marvel at how a pair of Irish hoods from Cork became international drug smugglers, going over their rise and fall as criminals and lamenting their failures as men. When Dilly does arrive, she is unrecognizable. Upon noticing Maurice and Charlie, a shaken Dilly evades their surveillance to observe them from a safe distance, at the same time revisiting the events that led to her decision to leave Ireland and sever contact with her dad and “Uncle Charlie.” Like them, Dilly has unanswered questions. But are they worth resolving?
VERDICT This third novel (following Beatlebone) by IMPAC Dublin Literary Award winner Barry is deeply satisfying. Stylistically, it advances the author’s talent for lyrical prose, with the dialog between Maurice and Charlie particularly magical. Similarly, Barry’s narrative pacing creates and then brilliantly settles the tensions between his characters. For all readers of literary fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]
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