Sunday 18 August 2019

Kevin Barry lands on Booker Prize longlist with 'Night Boat To Tangier'

Arch-divil of Irish literature: Kevin Barry’s third novel, Night Boat to Tangier, began life as a commission by the Abbey Theatre
Arch-divil of Irish literature: Kevin Barry’s third novel, Night Boat to Tangier, began life as a commission by the Abbey Theatre
Night Boat To Tangier by Kevin Barry (Booker Prize)

Rachel Dugan

Irish author Kevin Barry has been longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize.

The Limerick-born author earned his place on the so-called ‘Booker Dozen’ with Night Boat to Tangier, his third novel. His first, City of Bohane, won the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, while his 2015 follow-up, Beatlebone, was awarded the Goldsmiths Prize.

The 13-strong list, which is made up of eight women and five men, includes two former winners and literary heavyweights, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie.

The Testaments, Canadian Atwood’s highly anticipated follow-up to her 1985 dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale, will be published in early September, while Indian-British Rushdie has been longlisted for the Don Quixote-inspired Quichotte, published at the end of next month.

This year’s longlist includes just one debut novel, Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite’s darkly funny My Sister,The Serial Killer.

The other longlisted novels are US-born writer Lucy Ellman’s Ducks, Newburyport; British writer John Lanchester’s The Wall; The Man Who Saw Everything by British writer Deborah Levy; Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive; An Orchestra of Minorities by Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma; Lanny by Briton Max Porter; Turkish writer and activist Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World; Girl, Woman, Other by British-Nigerian writer Bernardine Evaristo; and British author Jeanette Winterson’s Frankissstein.

Night Boat to Tangier, which centres around two ageing Cork gangsters who find themselves keeping vigil at a ferry terminal in southern Spain, started out as a commission by Dublin’s Abbey Theatre.

Read more: Dark energies creep into the writing shed - author Kevin Barry on the black comedy in his latest play

The judges describe it as “a rogue gem of a novel… is a work of crime fiction not quite like any other. The seedy underbelly of a Spanish port and a stony Irish town are the backdrop for a story of misdeeds, madness and loss that swells with poetry and pathos”.

A six-strong shortlist for the £50,000 prize will be announced on September 3, with the overall winner revealed on October 14.

If he wins, Barry can expect a significant bump in sales.

Last year’s prize was awarded to Belfast author Anna Burns, whose Troubles-era novel Milkman went on to become one of the year’s bestselling books after increasing its sale 880% in the week following her win. It has, to date, sold 546,500 copies, across all formats.

Reviews of some of this year's longlisted books:

Night Boat to Tangier: Kevin Barry's unique brew of wit and mayhem lacks his usual depth My Sister the Serial Killer: A short, sharp and sinister sister act, told with plenty of mordant humour Lanny: Supernatural tale that makes the natural look all the more bizarre Frankissstein: 'Sci-fi' classic reimagined for a Brexit Britain 10 Minutes 38 seconds in This Strange World: Female friendship, flashbacks, and misogyny

Irish Independent

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