Just over 6 years ago, I went with three of my girlfriends to Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.
Morocco with its vibrant colours, air full of spices and snow-covered mountains is deeply ingrained in my memory.
We met local women that produced tapestries of striking colours, speckles of brightness in their modest living conditions.
Here’s my attempt at making a tapestry. I was hopeless, but it was a lot of fun! 😊
I loved wondering around the markets whilst smelling cinnamon, cardamom and other spices.
Morocco viciously attacked my senses of smell and vision and Tangerine brought some of those memories back.
Before we start, here’s what GoodReads say about this book:
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 afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice 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.
Tangerine is set in the 50’s predominantly in Moroccan Tangier and is narrated from two perspectives:
- Alice – a fragile protagonist, who is full of anxiety and is slowly losing her mind.
- Lucy – a manipulative character skilled at playing shrewd mind games.
Those voices are different: Alice’s is frail; Lucy’s is angry and calculating.
“She was put together nicely, with the intention of others not noticing. There was nothing about her that clamored for attention, nothing that demanded to be seen, and yet, everything was done exactly in anticipation of such notice.”
Mangan‘s writing is impressive. It can be slow at times but I didn’t mind. Via her words, I was transported back to Morocco, saw all those dazzling colours again and even smelled some of those spices (nothing to do with my obsession with cinnamon tea, promise!). 🙂
Tangerine is a psychological thriller and I had to pause sometimes to fully digest what I just read. The relationship between Alice and Lucy is highly toxic and reading about it was unsettling. There are many mind games involved and I was engaged till the end.
There were a few plot holes that Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie pointed out in her blog here. They are craftily hidden and I did not see them before I read Tangerine, only afterwards. I do agree with all of them. The last one irritated me probably the most.
Side note: I don’t know how to hide spoilers yet and Norrie’s review inspired me to pick this book so there you go. 🙂
Despite of that, I recommend this book. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and can be disturbing at times.
Have you read this book or planning on reading it? Let me know in the comments below. 😊🙏
Many thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.