Review | Tangerine | Christine Mangan

Tangerine Review | TBR Etc

Many thanks to Ecco for sending me a copy! #partner

Publication Date: 3/27/18

Publisher: Ecco

Page Count: 308

Why I read it: I reached out to the publisher to see if they would send me a copy because the synopsis sounded so up my alley- the beautiful cover didn't hurt! 

First Sentence: "It takes three men to pull the body from the water."

Synopsis: From Goodreads-

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.

My Thoughts: This is an inside look at a toxic female relationship. The girls meet in college as Lucy and Alice are paired as roommates. They come from a similar background- both lost their parents when they were young and have had to fight to get where they are. Quickly, they come to rely on one another, but soon the relationship becomes unbalanced. Alice has her own interests and tries to break away from her enigmatic roommate, but when she does things start to unravel. She thinks. We flash between their college lives to a year or so later, when Lucy unexpectedly shows up at Alice's new home in Tangier.  She's living with her husband, who she married after knowing only a little while. For a minute, Alice is happy to have some familiarity but she quickly finds that she's losing herself again. Alice is an unreliable narrator throughout and you almost always questioned her perception of what was going on versus what was actually going on. Lucy is a feminist and I loved reading about the roles that were expected of women during this time and what happens when a women doesn't play into it. I got sucked into their relationship- the jealousy, the posturing, the competition, the closeness. It was cloying and I loved hearing the narrative from both sides. It felt luxurious to read this and Tangier served as such a rich background. Tangier is Christine Mangan's first novel, but she has a PhD in English and a MFA and her writing made this storyline work. The publishers compare her to Donna Tartt and I can definitely see the similarities. High praise! 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this and would recommend. It's a slow-burn with an atypical setting, time period, and characters. It has a familiar unreliable narrator - but because you hear from both sides you're in on the scam. 

Favorite Quote: "...I knew there was no such thing as an absolute. Everything changes, sooner or later. Time moves along, without constraints- no matter how hard one may attempt to pause, to alter, to rewrite it. Quite simply, there is nothing to stop it, nothing at all." 

Read Alike: A Hundred SummersThe Secret History, Sometimes I Lie

Rating: 3.75/5 An intoxicating debut! 

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