This noir thriller (336 pages) was published in March of 2018 by HarperCollins. The book takes you to Tangier, Morocco. Melissa read Tangerine and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.
Set in the twisty alleys of a medina in 1950s Tangier, Morocco, this novel is like a Hitchcock film translated to the page. With taut, evocative prose, it tells the story of two elusive heroines trapped in a complex relationship of love, jealousy, and betrayal.
Our two protagonists — the always audacious Lucy and the painfully diffident Alice — are former best friends who met at Bennington College. They’ve had a mysterious falling out, and that conflict drives everything that befalls them.
Alice has moved to Tangier with her new husband, and she’s not adjusted well to her new life. As she struggles with anxiety, Lucy (Alice’s old frenemy), shows up unexpectedly. As the women fall into old patterns, a new mystery surfaces and the knots of tension twist tighter and tighter.
They’re both deliciously unreliable narrators. Do either of them honestly recall what really happened? An enticingly unsettled feeling floats over the entire narrative like the shimmery haze of a scorching day.
Tangier is located on the northwestern tip of Morocco, and it’s a fitting setting for this kind of story. After WWI, the city was declared an International Zone and was jointly ruled by nine different countries. It developed a glamorous and dangerous reputation that continued through the second World War. Tangier was a haven for smugglers, movie stars, washed-up secret agents, and ne’er-do-wells hoping to fly under the radar.
The evocative descriptions of the city and its sweltering, breathless atmosphere will transport you to mid-century Tangier — while the spiraling plot draws you into the stark shadows of a place that’s both threatening and enticing.
It is in these moments — when the air is thick and hot, threatening — that I can close my eyes and inhale, when I can smell Tangier again. It is the smell of a kiln, of something warm, but not burning, almost like marshmallows, but not as sweet. There is a touch of spice, something vaguely familiar, like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom even, and then something else entirely unfamiliar. — Christine Mangan
Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is ©2023 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.