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Tangerine: A Novel Hardcover – March 27, 2018
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
“Eerie and fun.” (Jennifer Egan, New York )
“The lying, the cunning, and the duplicity is so very mannered that it’s chilling. Rich in dread, the foreboding positively drips from every page.” (Washington Post)
“A dark tale of twisted love.” (NPR)
“Unbelievably tense, incredibly smart. . . . Mangan full-speeds up to her shocking finale, twisting the plot with reveals you never see coming. . . . [Her] writing is so accomplished, so full of surprises and beauty, that you’d swear she was a seasoned pro.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“A juicy melodrama cast against the sultry, stylish imagery of North Africa in the fifties. . . . [Tangerine is] endearing and even impressive in the force of its determination to conjure a life more exciting than most. . . . Just the ticket.” (New Yorker)
“A taut and heady suspense story.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“One book to add to your must-read list this spring.” (Parade)
“A searing, propulsive story about female friendship gone awry.” (Bustle)
“The reader’s sympathy switches back and forth between Lucy and Alice as their Moroccan reunion moves inexorably toward another fatal crossroads. But caveat lector: Tangerine, like its namesake fruit, can be both bracing and bitter.” (Wall Street Journal)
“A slow-burning suspense novel about betrayal in the sun-drenched setting of 1950s Tangier. . . . It’s a page-turner.” (AARP Magazine)
From the Back Cover
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 more than a year. But here was Lucy, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be glad for a friendly face. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice to emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon, a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.
Top customer reviews
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As for the characters and other substance of the novel, there's not much there there. The three or four main characters are thoroughly unpleasant, neurotic and sometimes downright amoral beings whose presence in Tangier (save for one) is never really explained. The plot is transparently a sharp lean toward Patricia Highsmith with none of the built-in tautness and psychological shading. The author focuses on threat and menace and sacrifices depth, in my opinion. And back to my first disappointment with the locale--I got the impression that she has never set foot in Tangier.
Lucy and Alice narrate alternating chapters. Sometimes, Alice will give her view of something Lucy has described in the preceding chapter; other times the story will just move on. Always in the background is Tangier or Tangiers or the other 4 or 5 names history has used for this amazing city with narrow passages through the Casbah, broiling sun, hot mint tea – and the occasional tangerine. So, what’s a tangerine? Someone whose home is Tangiers, a woman, not Moroccan, a user of people – it is not complimentary.
There are flashbacks to Bennington days, a hint of past trouble, the incident. A growing relationship between the two woman, despite two polar opposites in background, in personalities, in almost everything. Jump back to Tangier and we begin to meet some locals. Lucy is advised to stay away from Youssef, a warning akin to telling a teenager to drive at the speed limit and never experiment with drugs. The tension continues to mount. We learn what it was that happened that night at Bennington and why one of the young women ran away. Identities become blurred. And then there is a murder.
Why 1956? The story wouldn’t quite work at much later dates. Shortly after, Morocco becomes independent, crime solving becomes more sophisticated, travel advances shrink the globe. And what about that blurb on the cover suggesting what a great Hitchcock movie this would have made? I don’t agree. I loved Hitchcock. But Hitchcock used female roles as window dressing; his films were always about the hero guy. Hitchcock did not make movies about women. There is no hero guy in “Tangerine”; actually there is no heroine either.
And that is why I think there is such a disparity between most reader reviews and critic reviews. After reading critics’ reviews, one might expect 5 stars from readers. But most readers, including myself, want a hero, someone they like, someone to pull for, someone to save the day or just survive. This is not that book. Nevertheless “Tangerine” is excellent – for its great story telling, for transporting the reader to an engrossing time and place, for creating two excellent characters, for great tension and plot. So I highly recommend this book though I realize it is not for all tastes.
The ideas aren’t new, the twists not surprising, but the book still manages to tell an entertaining little story.