Tangerine (Mangan) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to help start a discussion for TANGERINE … then take off on your own:

1. How would you describe the two women at the heart of Tangerine? In what ways are they different from one another? Do they share any similarities? At first, were you drawn more to Alice or Lucy? Or neither?

2. What creates the bond between the two women? During the height of their friendship, each feels incomplete without the other. What does Lucy receive from Alice, and Alice from Lucy, that fulfills some part of themselves?

3. The chapters alternate between Alice's voice and Lucy's. How do their memories of Bennington diverge? In what way are both women untrustworthy or unreliable as narrators?

4. Trace the change in Alice and Lucy's relationship over the course of the novel, starting with their time at Bennington and "the incident"? When and why do the cracks first appear?

5. Follow-up to Question 4: What went through Alice's mind the day she found Lucy dressed up in her (Alice's) clothes? And the charm bracelet—care to tackle that one? Lucy appears to be "gaslighting" Alice, but to what purpose?

6. When Lucy turns up in Tangier, Alice recalls Shakespeare's line in The Tempest, "what's past is prologue." What does she mean?

7. Talk about Alice and John's marriage? In what way is Alice portrayed as a woman of the 1950s, educated but without a career, living at the behest of her husband and his job. And once Lucy meets John, she's on to him. What do you think? Is she right to insinuate herself into their marriage, to attempt to pull Alice away from her husband?

8. How do each of the women react to the city of Tangier, and what do their individual reactions say about who they are?

9. How does Christine Mangan depict Tangier. Youssef tells Lucy, “If you are looking for a place that makes sense, I feel I must provide this warning—you will be disappointed." In what way does the backdrop of the city, as well as the country's politics, reflect or enhance the mood and plot?

10. Talk about the dual meaning of the title, both as a juicy fruit and as a "woman of Tangiers," who disappears into the background.

11. Ultimately, what does Lucy want: to take over Alice's life or create a new one for herself?

12. The book is full of literary allusions (subtle and not so subtle) to other well-known novels. Can you pick a few out? Think Daphne du Maurier, Patricia Highsmith, Paul Bowles, even Hitchcock (see cover).

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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