Monday, 14 May 2018

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Book Review

Tangerine by Christine Mangan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"And there she was: my past, made corporeal."

Tangerine was released in the UK on 22nd March 2018. It is written by Christine Mangan and published by Little Brown.

A lot of people have compared Tangerine to a Hitchcock film, and it definitely has the slow-burning suspense and underlying threat throughout that Hitckcock was famous for, plus the 1950s setting. However, it lacks something that makes Hitchcock the genius he was. There aren't that many surprises, and the ones that are in there are fairly obvious. But, this is a slow burning, atmospheric book that's an ideal beach or lazy day read, just the right amount of suspense without being too exhausting.

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
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 an extraordinary debut, so tightly wound, so evocative of 1950s Tangier, and so cleverly plotted that it will leave you absolutely breathless.

Mangan has really conjured up 1950s Morrocco, you can feel the heat, the history and the crowds as you read and it is cloying and overbearing at times, just the way the character of Alice experiences it. But you also see the beauty as well.
The sweltering and claustrophobic setting of Tangiers really works well in this book as Alice feels gradually more and more trapped, within her own mind, with Lucy and with her husband.

Tangerine is also a very visual book, not just with the setting but also with the fashion and culture of the time. This is another element that gives it a Hitchcockian feel and I've no doubt it will make a beautiful film (apparently Scarlett Johansson is going to star).

The central theme of the book is the relationship between the two women, Alice and Lucy. Intense and overbearing female relationships are pretty big in thrillers at the moment, and I think that's maybe why I found Tangerine a little predictable; there was nothing particularly new about the relationship between the two women and the questions on who to trust. However, Mangan still explores it well, with all the devotion, jealousies and questions that are thrown up throughout the novel.

Tangerine is an enthralling book that's full of suspense, yet it sometimes opts for style over substance.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4 stars for Goodreads etc)

I received a copy of Tangerine, via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. My thanks to the author and publisher.

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Tangerine by Christine Mangan - Reading, Writing, Booking

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