Published by Ecco
Publication date: March 27, 2018
Genres: Debut, Fiction, Suspense
If you run into trouble at home, do not be surprised to run into trouble here. You are still the same person. Tangier can be magic, but even she is not a miracle worker.
Heiress Alice Shipley has found herself, at age 20, married and living in Tangier. It’s 1956 and not a place she ever thought she would go, but her new husband John was enamored, so while he goes out to work and explore the city day and night, she stays in their small flat. Until her closest friend from college, Lucy, shows up unannounced and life is once again more exciting. Christine Mangan explores the thrill and peril of foreign places and obsessive relationships in her debut, Tangerine.
As I was reading I felt as if I was in a Hitchcock movie, which is a good sign. Although there is very little overt violence in the novel, Mangan maintains a level of creepiness and unease throughout. At the same time, the similarities between Tangerine and the movies The Talented Mr. Ripley and Gaslight were too obvious for my taste. The plot felt recognizable to me, lessening the suspense Mangan was working so hard to create.
At its heart Tangerine is exactly what it sets out to be—a psychological thriller. It’s not the best I’ve ever read or the worst. Mangan gets top marks for conveying Alice’s unease and the conflicting views of Tangier as both an exciting foreign environment and unnerving for the same reason. It all depends on how you look at the world. The novel kept me tearing through the pages to the end, but I found the resolution to be unsatisfying, with credibility gaps that even the times couldn’t explain away. A safe bet for afternoon reading by the pool, but not a novel that wowed me.