TANGERINE by Christine Mangan

I just finished up the last few categories of the 2023 EDIWTB Reading Challenge. My final three unread books were all from the same category – Book From My Bookshelf – one that I love because I get to pick a random book from my unread shelves, no matter how old. #1 was Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin and #2 was Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler. #3 was Tangerine by Catherine Mangan, a 2018 debut novel that takes place in Tangiers, Morocco in 1956. Alice Shipley has moved to Tangiers with her husband John, who has unspecified business in the country. Her college roommate Lucy unexpectedly appears on her doorstep one day, an arrival that rattles Alice, suggesting that their friendship did not end well.

Why I picked it up: Tangerine was an impulse pick on the day I needed a Book From My Bookshelf. It had been on my shelf for several years and was available on audio.

Ultimately, Tangerine didn’t work for me. The setting was cool – especially because I went to Morocco this summer and could picture it – and at first I was intrigued by why Alice seemed so uneasy in Tangiers and why the relationship between the two women was so strained. Mangan teased both stories out pretty well, but in the end they fell flat. There were too many unanswered questions, and I didn’t find either woman’s motivations to be credible. Mangan went down a variety of paths before abandoning them and heading in other directions. I am still not sure that I ever really figured out exactly what was going on. Instead, I was left with some shadowy noir tropes and an abrupt ending.

I listened to Tangerine on audio. It was narrated by Barrie Kreinik as Lucy and Erin Mallon and Alice. Both narrators were fine; the plot was lacking in this one.

Tangerine was the 53rd book of 2023 and satisfies the Book From My Bookshelf category of the 2023 EDIWTB Reading Challenge.