Tangerine

Tangerine

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too a...

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Title:Tangerine
Author:Christine Mangan
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Tangerine Reviews

  • Julie

    Tangerine by Christine Mangan is a 2018 Ecco publication.

    I seldom give much credence to author recommendations, having learned a long time ago, that they are mostly meaningless. I've helped authors through various stages of marketing, and trust me, sometimes authors just pull those blurb quotes right out of thin air without even reading the book first.

    But… Then I saw that Joyce Carol Oates had written an endorsement for this debut novel, saying:

    Tangerine by Christine Mangan is a 2018 Ecco publication.

    I seldom give much credence to author recommendations, having learned a long time ago, that they are mostly meaningless. I've helped authors through various stages of marketing, and trust me, sometimes authors just pull those blurb quotes right out of thin air without even reading the book first.

    But… Then I saw that Joyce Carol Oates had written an endorsement for this debut novel, saying:

    I must admit, I was intrigued, and the synopsis did capture my attention. That, along with a few friend reviews, convinced me to see what all the fuss was about.

    I can tell you up front this book may not be for everyone, but I really liked it. The time period- 1950’s, the location- Morocco- sets the stage nicely, for a charlatan tale of obsession and manipulation that left me chilled to the core.

    Alice and Lucy were roommates in New York until a horrendous incident separated them. Not long afterwards, Alice got married and moved to Morocco. Now, Lucy has decided to take a vacation to Morocco to visit her old friend-showing up unannounced, out of the blue, without an invitation.

    Lucy is shocked by her friend’s condition, the way her husband, John, treats her, and is determined to pull the wool from Alice’s eyes and convince her to go back home with her to New York.

    Alice remains torn, slowly coming around to Lucy’s way of thinking- until her husband disappears…

    This novel is certainly a slow burner, but the atmosphere alone was enough to keep me invested in the story. There are a few minor issues, places that didn’t gel completely, but books centered around fixations and obsessions must allow for a few inconsistencies here and there, as characters create and absorb information and respond to it, occasionally reacting to revelations in unexpected ways, as we would in reality.

    This is one twisted and deliciously wicked little tale and does most assuredly have a whisper of Patricia Highsmith running through it, and a knack for leaving one feeling very unsettled, ala Gillian Flynn. I’m not comparing this book or the author to either one of these authors, or their work, but the atmosphere and clever twists on top of layers of mistrust and re-inventions did put me in mind of them, which leads me to believe JCO may have really read this book and her assessment was spot-on. However, this little gem stands on its own merits just fine and this author is definitely one to watch.

    I have the feeling this book may end up being underappreciated, which is too bad, because it really is a very worthy competitor, extremely well written, and certainly a cut above the average, over rated, psychological thriller out there, and most definitely falls into the literary thriller category.

    As for me, I am almost embarrassingly grateful and quite appreciative of the work done here. There are so few novels, especially within this genre, written with this type of prose, this ability to create such rich characterizations, against such a vivid backdrop.

    I found the novel to be utterly chilling, but understated, quite unnerving, and well- constructed, especially for a debut novel!

    I highly recommend this one to readers who enjoy nuanced, atmospheric, sophisticated, and stylish novels of suspense.

  • Paromjit

    Christine Mangan writes a deliciously warped and menacing piece of historical fiction set amidst the sweltering and sweat ridden heat of Tangier in Morocco. This is a twisted psychological thriller narrated from the point of view of the nervously anxious and isolated Alice Shipley, recently married to John, and her once close friend, Lucy Mason. Alice and Lucy, women from different ends of the social and economic strata, were room mates at Bennington College in Vermont, whose relationship fractu

    Christine Mangan writes a deliciously warped and menacing piece of historical fiction set amidst the sweltering and sweat ridden heat of Tangier in Morocco. This is a twisted psychological thriller narrated from the point of view of the nervously anxious and isolated Alice Shipley, recently married to John, and her once close friend, Lucy Mason. Alice and Lucy, women from different ends of the social and economic strata, were room mates at Bennington College in Vermont, whose relationship fractured after an incident on a dark and stormy night. Since then, there has been no communication between them. The narrative is relayed from the perspective of Alice and Lucy, both unreliable narrators, in this creepy tale of love, obsession, deception, fading dreams and revenge. The location is a character in its own right as Mangan evokes an atmospheric and detailed sense of place, people, geography, history and period.

    Alice is trapped in her home, afraid of venturing out in Tangier, whilst her husband, John, is in his element. She is caught unawares when Lucy turns up. A confident Lucy pushes Alice into exploring the city, its people and its vibrant markets. However, there is the inescapable feelings of things that matter not being talked about but hovering below the radar ominously. The two women have markedly different recollections of that night in Vermont. It is not long before Alice feels a crushing feeling of unease in the company of Lucy, feeling pushed into corners in her life and manipulated. John disappears, which heightens Alice's frayed nerves, wondering if her mind is failing her or if Lucy is the source of her travails.

    Mangan writes a compelling and twisted novel, full of intrigue, with chilling undercurrents of friendships and relationships moving into toxic territory amidst a background of an exotic Tangier and Morocco. There are times when the writing does feel a little uneven on occasion, nevertheless, this book weaves a beguiling and unsettling spell as we wonder just how it will all unfold, although we are rock solid certain all will not end well. A bitter beautifully written story of murky relationships that succeeded in keeping my attention with ease, which I recommend to those who have a penchant for the twisted. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Liz Barnsley

    I really fell into Tangerine – a tautly plotted purely character driven psychological drama where the setting is one of those characters – haunting and highly engaging, this is the story of a toxic friendship playing out against the backdrop of Tangier in a time of turmoil..

    The imagery in this novel is astounding – you really feel like you are walking the streets of Tangier with our main protagonists – but it is so simply done, with no need for exposition or endless descriptive passages, the pla

    I really fell into Tangerine – a tautly plotted purely character driven psychological drama where the setting is one of those characters – haunting and highly engaging, this is the story of a toxic friendship playing out against the backdrop of Tangier in a time of turmoil..

    The imagery in this novel is astounding – you really feel like you are walking the streets of Tangier with our main protagonists – but it is so simply done, with no need for exposition or endless descriptive passages, the place is just there, underneath the actions of the characters and you sense it on every page. Then we have Alice and Lucy – told in alternating chapters from their points of view, these girls met at Bennington, a finishing college if you like and became close friends fast. But a tragedy separated them and put Alice into a dark place, from which it seems she has still not emerged. Lucy has followed her across continents, but is it loyalty or something more sinister? As their tales are told, there is a distinct and urgent sense of menace about it, the author drawing the reader into this vivid, vibrant world where there is danger at every turn..

    Tangerine is unsettling, unexpected at times, plays on different versions of events but eventually the truth emerges – taking us into an ending that is razor sharp and emotionally disturbing. A clever, layered novel that will appeal to fans of the literary psychological thriller and readers like me who love a classic unreliable narrator done in old school style.

    We are all unreliable narrators of our own realities…

    Highly Recommended.

  • j e w e l s [Books Bejeweled]

    What is it about obsessive friendships between women that are so appealing to read about? I’m always drawn to books that feature this type of female-frenemy-relationship. I think there is so much more that can be added to the plot than just the usual he/she torrid love/hate affair that dominate this genre’s selections.

    What is it about obsessive friendships between women that are so appealing to read about? I’m always drawn to books that feature this type of female-frenemy-relationship. I think there is so much more that can be added to the plot than just the usual he/she torrid love/hate affair that dominate this genre’s selections.

    TANGERINE takes place mostly in Tangier, Morocco, during a political uprising in the 1950’s. One year after university, the women meet in the exotic desert setting of Tangier. The word "atmospheric" is thrown around to describe a lot of fiction these days, but in this case, atmospheric is more than an accurate label.

    Christine Mangan is a lovely, old-fashioned writer. She's a new author and I'm not exaggerating to say that TANGERINE will remind you of Hemingway's

    and Fitzgerald's

    . Mangan doesn’t linger on descriptions, but the reader is always very aware of the setting and mood and it feels authentic.

    The book's cover is sheer perfection for setting the mood and, plus, it reads like film noir. This is a combination of several different stories (THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, SINGLE WHITE FEMALE come to mind) but it still feels fresh and original.

    However, I adore the slow burn and did find it suspenseful with tension growing throughout. It is a book for fans of

    .

    .

    BONUS! The audiobook is exceptionally well done! Lucy sounds exactly like Scarlett Johansson (but it’s not her, I checked). However, the real ScarJo is already cast to play Lucy in the upcoming film production. Perfect choice!

  • Jan

    Well this one has it all!

    -Unreliable narratives ✔

    -Mysterious pasts; surrounded in secrets, lies, and innuendos ✔

    -Dark, haunting and atmospheric ✔

    -Craziness and delusion abound...all the while not knowing which one is truly the psychotic one ✔

    This was a slow creeper for me, but the tension was tight throughout and I honestly didn't know who was the protagonist versus the antagonist until it was finally revealed just over the halfway mark.

    Told from 2 POV's covering both past and present, this is a

    Well this one has it all!

    -Unreliable narratives ✔️

    -Mysterious pasts; surrounded in secrets, lies, and innuendos ✔️

    -Dark, haunting and atmospheric ✔️

    -Craziness and delusion abound...all the while not knowing which one is truly the psychotic one ✔️

    This was a slow creeper for me, but the tension was tight throughout and I honestly didn't know who was the protagonist versus the antagonist until it was finally revealed just over the halfway mark.

    Told from 2 POV's covering both past and present, this is a disturbing look at friendship, obsession, greed and the lengths people will go to get what they want.

    Highly recommend!

  • Faith

    "I knew her, Alice, better than she knew herself, could anticipate every action and reaction before they had ever occurred to her. I sunk to the floor, my fingers grasping the Berber carpet beneath me, my nails turning white against the pressure as I clutched at its frayed edges." Alice and her husband John have moved to Tangier soon after their marriage. Alice has a history of mental instability and she has a difficult time adjusting to Tangier and rarely leaves their apartment. Alice is troubl

    "I knew her, Alice, better than she knew herself, could anticipate every action and reaction before they had ever occurred to her. I sunk to the floor, my fingers grasping the Berber carpet beneath me, my nails turning white against the pressure as I clutched at its frayed edges." Alice and her husband John have moved to Tangier soon after their marriage. Alice has a history of mental instability and she has a difficult time adjusting to Tangier and rarely leaves their apartment. Alice is troubled by several past events including the deaths of her parents and a mysterious tragedy that occurred while Alice was a student at Bennington. Lucy, Alice's former college roommate, makes a surprise visit to Tangier. Their separation over a year ago was somehow related to that mysterious tragedy.

    The plot of this book was quite predictable, but the book did hold my interest. My major problem was with the lack of pacing. The writing is seriously overwrought from the beginning, so there is no build up of tension. Both women are in full tilt drama queen mode throughout. I've seen this book compared to "The Talented Mister Ripley" but that's really an insult to Patricia Highsmith. This will be made into a movie, of course, but my favorite part of the book was the cover.

  • Hannah Greendale

    It is 1956, and Alice Shipley has found refuge from her past in Tangier. She’s nearly able to forget about the night a horrible incident altered the course of her life. But an unexpected visit from Lucy Mason – her college roommate who witnessed the event – threatens to expose the truth. Alice is sure she can withstand a brief visit, but the longer Lucy stays, the more Alice suffers from a familiar sense of uncertainty: Either she can’t trust Lucy, or she can’t trust her own mind.

    It is 1956, and Alice Shipley has found refuge from her past in Tangier. She’s nearly able to forget about the night a horrible incident altered the course of her life. But an unexpected visit from Lucy Mason – her college roommate who witnessed the event – threatens to expose the truth. Alice is sure she can withstand a brief visit, but the longer Lucy stays, the more Alice suffers from a familiar sense of uncertainty: Either she can’t trust Lucy, or she can’t trust her own mind.

    ’s cover clenches it. The black and white Fifties-era photograph with a pop of acid green that hints at something sour, something

    . The frail woman clothed in virtuous white, shielding her eyes against the oppressive sunlight. The shadow of a palm tree in the background, reaching for her like a clawed hand. And the Hitchcockian vibes that scream, “

    !” Is it any wonder

    got bumped to the top of Mount TBR?

    It’s immediately clear from

    opening pages that Mangan’s writing style has a soft, almost feminine quality. It’s delicate yet concise, particularly when it alludes to Alice’s and Lucy’s mental state. Alice suffers from nervous anxiety that manifests, as she describes it, as “

    ”* Lucy suffers from a similar “

    ,”* one that, as a child, made her prone to phantom pain.

    In addition to frayed nerves, Alice and Lucy have something else in common: a secret. The first half of

    hinges on this shared secret – some mysterious incident from their past. Both women are aware of what happened, but neither of them will speak of it. “

    ,” Lucy says upon seeing Alice again for the first time in over a year. “

    ”*

    Though the dialogue is sharp and biting, it’s the unsaid that hits hardest. Tension simmers beneath the surface, and the truth lies hidden between the lines. Unfortunately, Mangan lazily bats at tension with as much enthusiasm as an obese cat. Her application of pressure is so apathetic that the narrative begins to stall. By the midpoint it’s downright stagnant. The story fails to

    toward anything. The reveal, and what follows, is limp at best.

    Early reviewers have drawn parallels between

    and books by Gillian Flynn – a comparison that’s just laughable.

    : This book in no way mirrors the breathless tension and skillfully woven plots found in Gillian Flynn’s novels.

    Equally frustrating is the narrative perspective. Chapters alternate between the first-person perspective of Alice and of Lucy. Though both women are quite different – Alice demure and trembling, Lucy cunning and independent – nothing distinguishes their narrative voices from one another.

    Fortunately, some momentum is regained in the final quarter of the book. The easy flow of Mangan’s writing style carries Alice and Lucy to an unexpected conclusion – one that will appeal to some and irritate others.

    would have made a swell film in the 1950’s but, as a book released in modern times, is too subtle and uneventful to have any lingering effect.

    -

    *Note: All quotes taken from an Advanced Readers Copy.

    Special thanks to

    for providing a free ARC of

    in exchange for an honest review.

  • Andrew Smith

    Set largely in 1950’s Morocco, this book introduces us to two girls who first meet at an exclusive American finishing school. Something happens there, something bad, but we’ll not find out exactly what for some time. Alice is from England and having lost her parents early she is shipped off to Bennington College, in Vermont, by her guardian aunt. There she meets an American girl, Lucy. The two are to become inseparable roommates. Until the accident, that is.

    But all this is captured in flashback

    Set largely in 1950’s Morocco, this book introduces us to two girls who first meet at an exclusive American finishing school. Something happens there, something bad, but we’ll not find out exactly what for some time. Alice is from England and having lost her parents early she is shipped off to Bennington College, in Vermont, by her guardian aunt. There she meets an American girl, Lucy. The two are to become inseparable roommates. Until the accident, that is.

    But all this is captured in flashback, when we first meet Alice she’s already married and is living in the Moroccan city of Tangier, with her husband. In reality, she rarely leaves her home. She’s scared and doesn’t like the heat and bustle of the place. We’re constantly reminded that she’s haunted by the incident in her past and it’s no real surprise when Lucy turns up, knocking on her door.

    As the story unfolds we get a real sense of the city itself – as much a character in this book as Alice and Lucy. The writing is beautiful and evokes the smells and colours and vibrancy of this city on it’s eve of independence. The story itself begins to take the form of a psychological thriller as the reuniting of the two women reignites thoughts of past events. What exactly is Lucy’s motivation for tracking Lucy down? And why is Alice so cool with her upon her arrival?

    It’s here that I get a little confused about my views concerning this book. On the whole, I think it’s really well written and I believe the initial character development and scene setting is first class. My concerns, though, started to surface in the second half of the tale: as the action began to heat up what felt like a wholly contrived plot began to be pieced together. I’m not going to go into detail, but there are any number of small actions taken that on their own seem inconsequential but when added together end up bringing about what felt to me like a highly unlikely scenario. The writing is excellent but the conclusion of this piece is dependent on too many seemingly random actions delivering up the precise outcomes required to allow it all to fit together. It's an enjoyable read nonetheless and my thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Truman32

    Like a Nestle Toll House Ultimate Chocolate Chip Lovers break and bake cookie that was only in the oven for 3 minutes Christine Mangan’s thriller,

    , is a half-baked mess. Actually that might not be an accurate metaphor as that cookie would still be wonderful, if somewhat gooey and drippy.

    is more like a half-baked fugu puffer-fish meal, it’s poor preparation causing the reader severe agony as toxins invade their body. Painful death is a forgone conclusion.

    begins in a

    Like a Nestle Toll House Ultimate Chocolate Chip Lovers break and bake cookie that was only in the oven for 3 minutes Christine Mangan’s thriller,

    , is a half-baked mess. Actually that might not be an accurate metaphor as that cookie would still be wonderful, if somewhat gooey and drippy.

    is more like a half-baked fugu puffer-fish meal, it’s poor preparation causing the reader severe agony as toxins invade their body. Painful death is a forgone conclusion.

    begins in an intriguing fashion. Alice Shipley, now living in Tangiers, is visited by her old Bennington classmate, Lucy Mason. While at college Lucy and Alice were inseparable. But then Lucy began to act strangely. She became jealous of Alice’s relationship with her boyfriend, started wearing her clothes and taking her jewelry, eventually single white femaling her. Or did she? Alice is mentally fragile, maybe even delusional. Even she is not sure of what she is seeing. Now, back in Tangiers Lucy has shown up again, attaching herself to Alice’s life like nothing dark had ever happened.

    It all sounds great—the set-up, the locale of Morocco, the time period of 1956. The execution however is derivative of better stories. The tale is so malnourished and scrawny I had half a mind to report Mangan to the literature branch of Family Services for abuse. The paths Mangan chooses to take her tale are unimaginative and strangely uneventful.

    is an empty piñata –there are no surprises just a sad (if colorful) husk once you tear it open.

    Maybe Mangan was spellbound by the seven-figure advance for her book. Maybe it was Scarlet Johansson and George Clooney scooping up the film rights before this novel was even published—I hear Clooney’s dimples can make women do the darndest things. Either way,

    is an underworked disappointment that deserves to be pelted with rotten produce. I myself will be clearing out the old Tupperware containers from my fridge this weekend and bombarding Tangerine with hardened leftovers. I apologize in advance to the library I borrowed this from.

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