I was late to the magic of Armistead Maupin, but I'm a devoted follower now. The stories from Barbary Lane are utterly addictive - I've grown to truly care about Mary Ann, Mona, Mrs. Madrigal, Michael and all the others. Maupin writes evocatively about a time (and he wrote AT a time) in San Francisco when things were changing in a fascinating, exciting way. I'm not sure if a young person could still step off the bus from Cleveland and begin a new life there, as Mary Ann does in the first book, but I'd like to think that life could still be that fresh and interesting.
My favorite character throughout the three books in the series that I've read thusfar is Mrs. Madrigal. Her imperfections are amusing and she makes an excellent mother hen for her errant chicks at Barbary Lane. Nothing seems to surprise her and nothing makes her happier than seeing that everyone is safe in the haven she's created.
By the end of the 750 plus pages in the omnibus, the Tales were no longer just stories. Armistead Maupin has created a world that I enjoyed visiting, and I look forward to finding out what happens next.