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Tales Of The City: Tales of the City 1 Paperback – 25 May 1984

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Ed edition (25 May 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552998761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552998765
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A consummate entertainer... It is Maupin's Dickensian gift to be able to render love convincingly" (Edmund White The Times Literary Supplement)

"Maupin is a richly gifted comic author" (Observer)

"San Francisco is fortunate in having a chronicler as witty and likeable as Armistead Maupin" (Independent)

"Like those of Dickens and Wilkie Collins, Armistead Maupin's novels have all appeared originally as serials... it is the strength of this approach, with its fantastic adventures and astonishingly contrived coincidences, that makes these novels charming and compelling" (Literary Review)

Book Description

The first volume in the widely acclaimed and much-loved series

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Brown on 30 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
I've been meaning to read this ever since the Channel 4 adaptation in 1993, which starred Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney.

The novel was first published in 1978 after being serialised in the San Francisco Chronicle. In it Armistead Maupin captures the spirit and atmosphere of a society with liberal attitudes to sex, sexuality and drugs. As such, the book does not seem as dated as it might have done.

The book follows the stories of around eight archetypal characters, from the naïve Mary Ann to the wise (but mysterious) Mrs Madrigal, the openly and flamboyantly gay (Michael) to the secretive and sinister (Norman). Centred on the lodgings run by Mrs Madrigal, and the "family" of residents, this is a book about friendship, relationships and the (often unexpected) connections between people.

While some of the references may be dated and specific to San Francisco, the book is a joy to read. The short chapters and easy-going style make it eminently readable.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Daisy Roots on 17 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
Found the first two on the shelves of the house in San Francisco where I was staying last week. Had just sprained ankle, so forced so sit in sun and read novels with foot on cushion all day (it was hell...) now home I hobbled to library and got out next two in series. What is it about some books - or perhaps some writers - that really makes you feel good? Can't say Maupin has actually cured the ankle, but the discovery of his books so late in my life (don't ask, honey) has certainly lifted my spirits. Another feel good book is "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith (yes the 1001 dalmatians author) which came out in WW2 before you were born sweetie, but has the same way of treating adult subjects seriously and yet lightly and humourously. So glad I sprained my ankle. I think.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Proudmomofagayson on 29 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
My son has ADD and so has not been able to read a book all the way through since a teenager. I let him borrow this fantastic novel and he quite literally sat down and read it from cover to cover in a matter of hours. Not only is Tales of the City a witty, charming and altogether satisfying read but it has also kick-started my son's interest in books again. No one but Armistead Maupin can do this.
He weaves a quite delightful story, that is both touching and hilarious. The coincidences come thick and fast but never do you get a sense of them stretching credibility. He really makes you believe in the characters, you want to believe they exist and are not just fictional people. You want to find 28 Barbary Lane on a San Francisco road map and drop by for a cup of Ginseng Tea or perhaps hope to be invited to one of Mrs Madrigal's late night soirees.
Tales of the City is a modern masterpiece. It's magical, spellbinding and will take you on an adventure you will never forget. I can't rate it highly enough. Armistead, you are a genius!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Park on 15 July 2009
Format: Paperback
It is difficult to add anything truly significant to the previous reviews about this classic of late 20th Century US literature other than to confirm the seminal nature of the work. Sparking a series of follow-up novels, (and a television series) this is the original "grand dame" of metrosexual literature with a bewildering yet believable series of vivd and life-affirming characters positively pulsating within the quick-beating heart of a frontier-like late-70s San Francisco.
Irrespective of where you're coming from (geographically, morally, spiritually or otherwise) you are bound to pick something positive up from this fabulous feel-good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. A. Williams on 2 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Tales of the City is a fast-paced page-turner that you won't put down until you're finished, I read it cover to cover in a few hours! It's a very easy read that is straightforward and entertaining. You can effortlessly delve into this novel and escape into the hotch potch that San Francisco used to be. The character and plot development unfolds quickly and Maupin cleverly overlaps various character who come from different walks of life but we discover they all searching for the same thing. Believable characters that are easily loved. A great read, have just ordered the next few book in the series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
Centred on 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco, the home of Anna Madrigal, Tales of the City chronicles the day to day life of Mrs Madrigal and her assorted tenants, along with their friends and colleagues. The eccentric Mrs Madrigal considers her residents as her family, leaves them notes accompanied by a joint and serves brownies suitably fortified. The residents include twenty five year old Mary Anne, a naïve young secretary newly arrived from Cleveland; Mona, a successful copywriter working for ad agency Halcyon Communications; Brian Hawkins, a randy waiter and one time lawyer in his thirties; and Michael (Mouse) Tolliver, a thoroughly likeable lively gay twink. Among the friends and colleagues, and very much part of the story are Edgar Halcyon, head of Halcyon Communications; and Beauchamp Day, his promiscuous son-in-law and business partner; along with their respective wives. By a remarkable series of coincidences the lives of residents, friends and acquaintances connect and interweave to comic effect.

Their escapades range from the devious to the outrageous, ruthless to movingly caring; their sexual interests/orientation from straight to gay, and not always necessarily consistent; the whole providing an hilarious and touching account full of adventure.

A thoroughly entertaining, funny and fast moving read, with some endearing and very likeable characters, I highly recommended it; and very much look forward to the subsequent developments in the many sequels.
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