I hadn’t heard of Tangerine by Christine Mangan before, but my friend lent it to me and she has very good taste in books! It is described as a thriller, but it didn’t feel quite like that to me.
Set in 1950s Tangier, in Morocco, young newlywed Alice is afraid to go out into the bustling streets. Her husband loves Tangier, but she hates the heat and is afraid of the people, so she stays indoors. Then one day she opens the door to find Lucy standing there.
Lucy and Alice were former college room-mates, once inseparable. They used to do everything together, but something had changed that. For a long time, there are only hints at what that ‘something’ might be, but it had obviously been something big. But after a year apart, Alice is pleased to see her old friend. Lucy is stronger and braver than her and happy to go out on the streets of Tangier. With encouragement from Lucy, Alice too decides to leave the flat and embrace the city.
Told alternately by Lucy and Alice, this is the story of a close and almost stifling friendship. Why had Lucy and Alice lost touch? And will they be able to rekindle their friendship?
Tangerine is a very atmospheric story and quite a slow burner. It almost feels like nothing happens in the first 100 pages, but you really get a feel for the heat of Tangier and its busy streets and bars. As the story unravels, it is clear that either Alice or Lucy is starting to lose her mind. But which one is it? Are either of them being really honest with each other, with the people around them and with the reader?
I enjoyed Tangerine and it’s definitely a good one to read in the summer, especially on holiday, when it is easy to relate to the heat. But, if I’m honest, it’s probably not quite up to the standard of the many reviews quoted inside. Or maybe I just prefer a story that moves a bit more quickly?