Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry [9/10]

Irish writer Kevin Barry is all about drama and poetic immersion in settings and the inner lives of characters. His “Beatlebone” was one of my favorite novels from a few years back, although it’s fair to add that a number of readers who read it on my recommendation found it baffling. “Night Boat to Tangier” might well engender the same spectrum of reactions. Two gabby Irish drug crims gather at the seedy port of Algeciras, searching for Moss Hearn’s daughter, reported to be coming in from Tangier. He and Charlie Redmond, one with a limp, the other with one eye, brood, Irish raconteurs the pair of them, while the novel dives back and back into their violent past in Ireland, Spain and Morocco. The author has an extraordinary style, unfurling savage humor and storming lyricism with poetic rhythm. A tale of ambition, lust, madness, and love, this novel is one of 2019’s standouts. Read it and weep, as I did, for these unlikeable but oh so human heroes.

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