Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Tangerine is the atmospheric psychological thriller set in 1956 Tangier by Christine Mangan. With all the hype

 surrounding it it’s no surprise it’s already optioned for a film. George Clooney’s production company Smokehouse Pictures is set to take it on with Scarlett Johanssen to star.


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.


With two female narrators alternating chapters Tangerine focuses on the development of both Alice and Lucy who contrast each other. Using classic Hollywood typecasts Alice is our pale, rich, emotionally fragile leading lady, while Lucy is the dark, voluptuous, speaks her mind woman. Theirs is a complex relationship built on lies from the start as we have small flashes of their time together at boarding school. Hints from the present and past of how toxic their relationship becomes, though I felt their motivations still a little weak by the end of the book. Both Alice and Lucy were likable characters in their own way. However, Alice a little slow on the uptake when she starts realising about Lucy. I would have appreciated if she had been a little smarter. But whatchoo going to do.

I loved the backdrop of Tangier and the setting of the 50’s. The city was described so vividly that it was easy to picture the heat and romantic side of Morrocco. Tangier felt like a character in itself and I’d be really keen to see this played out on the big screen. Though we only see Tangier in flashes – it is so vibrant and full of life. It’s interesting to see how both Alice and Lucy experience the city in different ways and how it affects their views.

So while Tangerine isn’t a wholly original novel – I still really enjoyed the story. The ‘evil lesbian’ plot felt a little cliche though I did really like the ending – it definitely leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth! Tangerine is perfect to read in one sitting and works well for crime and literary fiction.

Just three
You need something slightly exotic to read in summer that’s a little more than chicklit.
If you like this review try The Elizas by Sara Shepherd


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