FeaturedContemporary Fiction

The Shade Under the Mango Tree

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A well-structured bildungsroman of a young woman’s quest for identity, adventure, and belonging, centered on a charming meet-cute.

The Shade Under the Mango Tree by author Evy Journey, is a tender and captivating story that delves into the many existential questions we ask ourselves frequently.


The pivot of the tale is a charming meet-cute; by way of a lost notebook.

Lucien, an architect whose life revolves around his creative practice and his routines, comes upon a journal of a stranger, and his interest is piqued. He comes to know the girl, Luna, through her journal entries, where she writes of her family, her quest for identity, her dilemmas about love, and her search for home in people and in places. 


When they meet unexpectedly, they connect through how different they are. Her life is in upheaval and his stories and mantra of life help her recognize the call of adventure. The fifth section of the book reads almost like a separate novella of Luna's coming-of-age through her experiences with a family in a rural village in a country with a bloody history. 


The plot meanders from seeming first like a story about family ties, then a romance centered around the journal to become a well-structured bildungsroman with a bit of everything. There are a few unnecessary diversions but they don’t take much away from the central arc or the reading experience. The first person point of view of both central characters makes for an unusual and interesting narrative reading. The prose itself reads like a painting adding depth and complexity in layers making for some beautiful imagery.


The author spins this tale of wholesome characters, with a nuanced understanding of different cultures backed by a worldly sensibility of travel, poetry, and design. This book is a convincing manifesto for leading life with moments of stillness alongside big adventures, of the value of connections, and will also leave you with a hankering for mangoes.

Reviewed by

I read a mix of books, be it literary fiction, non-fiction, design books, or classics. All books have a takeaway and I like to get to the crux of that. I write reviews to remember these takeaways.

Luna: February, 2016

About the author

Evy Journey is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who's trying to perfect the art of aimless roaming. She majored in psychology (Ph.D. University of Illinois) so her women’s fiction spins tales about well-drawn characters as they cope with the problems and issues of contemporary life. view profile

Published on November 02, 2020

Published by

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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