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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Anna Madrigal!
The latest (ninth) and, reportedly, last in the wonderful 'Tales of The City' series, 'Days of Anna Madrigal' sees the benevolent and quirky former landlady of 28 Barbary Lane now aged 92, frail in body, but still alert in mind. The cast of surviving friends are here - Michael Tolliver, Brian Hawkins, Mary Ann Singleton - all older but still ready for an adventure. They...
Published 13 months ago by Catherine Cavendish

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars That's enough now.
Very much an after thought to the series. There is pleasure to be had from meeting all the characters we have loved from previous adventures, but unfortunately I felt the melancholy/reflective mood of this book left Mr Maupin's lazy plotting and strained dialogue exposed. This series has always traded on placing it's cast in ridiculously contrived situations and here...
Published 8 months ago by Andy C


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Anna Madrigal!, 9 Feb. 2014
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The latest (ninth) and, reportedly, last in the wonderful 'Tales of The City' series, 'Days of Anna Madrigal' sees the benevolent and quirky former landlady of 28 Barbary Lane now aged 92, frail in body, but still alert in mind. The cast of surviving friends are here - Michael Tolliver, Brian Hawkins, Mary Ann Singleton - all older but still ready for an adventure. They join 60,000 revellers who build a city to last just a week in the desert.

For Anna though, she has reached a point in her life when it's time to revisit her past, left behind 75 years earlier when, as a troubled and confused boy, something devastating happened which made her run away from the whorehouse run by her mother.

Armistead Maupin's writing is, as always, sublime - with witty, quirky dialogue and scenes that make you laugh, or even cry. Meeting up with the characters again is like welcoming old friends back, and when I turned the final page, it was with a lump in my throat.

Thoroughly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply wonderful, 5 Feb. 2014
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as preparation for this final book in the series i reread the two most recent books and was surprised how much more i adored them this time around, if you are new to the books, then you have to start at the beginning to fully get into this wonderful saga of Annas logical family.
The latest book is a fittingly perfect way to end the series although lets hope Mr Maupin decides to add more very soon, as the newer characters are just as great as the old originals. Its wonderful to catch up with them and their lives and in this book some names from the past reappear, and we finally get to find out about Anna's childhood growing up at the Blue Moon Lodge as she confronts the secrets she ran away from.
The book had me laughing and crying and i couldnt put it down until it was finished, highly recommended (in fact essential reading for fans) its beautifully written, uplifting and charming, and about people who utterly understand giving and receiving love.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the City tinged with nostalgia, 4 Mar. 2014
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I have been a fan of Tales of the City since they were published. I have reread them many times. I enjoyed The Days of Anna Madrigal very much, reading it in one sitting but with a sense of melancholy which I suppose has also been there since Michael Tolliver Lives and Mary Anne in the Autumn. Perhaps it is a melancholy for the passing of time. Otherwise it would have earned five stars.
Maupin creates characters that you know and care about. Their foibles and weaknesses you understand and matter to you. their dreams are often yours too. Anna Madrigal is as enchanting as she ever was. it is a privilege to have known her.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna Madrigal splendid till the end, 10 Feb. 2014
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Reading The Days of Anna Madrigal was like attending a family reunion. Armistead brings us bang up-to-date with our favourite ex inhabitants of Barbery Lane. A fitting g farewell to Mrs Madrigal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars That's enough now., 14 July 2014
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Very much an after thought to the series. There is pleasure to be had from meeting all the characters we have loved from previous adventures, but unfortunately I felt the melancholy/reflective mood of this book left Mr Maupin's lazy plotting and strained dialogue exposed. This series has always traded on placing it's cast in ridiculously contrived situations and here there is certainly no shortage of those. The difference I think, is that while in past books, we related to the youth and exuberance of the majority of the characters and forgave their foibles and where their stupid decisions lead them; here our points of reference are much older, supposedly wiser and frankly a little dull. The trials and stresses of younger cast are simply not believable enough to hold the attention of the now more mature reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Families of the heart, 27 Mar. 2014
By 
Richard Brown (Hove, E.Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
Fans of the Tales series will devour this book and be happy. For others, like myself, who have not read the previous books in the series, but remember the TV adaptation - how ground breaking that was, how exhilarating to watch during a time of repression! - how does this novel, the ninth in the series, stand alone as a complete novel in its own right? I think it does, not least because we are now far removed from Barbary Lane in time and place: most of its characters have aged so much or changed or died, that we are in a different world. Some of them are still there, of course: Brian, Michael, Mary Anne, and Anna Madrigal herself. These characters connect us to previous episodes, acting like an echo chamber in one's memory; but it is Anna who holds it all together - she sits, even at the age of 92, at the centre of her 'logical family', the greatly loved, even revered, matriarch of them all, just as she sits at the heart of this book. She is surely one of modern literature's greatest character creations.

Brian, his new wife Wren and Anna travel in Brian's RV back to Winnemucca where Anna was brought up, where she has a ghost to lay from her adolescence. The story of that distant time is told in separate chapter flashbacks; it is one of complex betrayal that leads to tragedy and scars Anna for life. It shines a light in a dark corner of Anna's mysterious heart. Once she's laid this ghost to rest, the three of them travel on to the Burning Man alternative arts festival, to meet up with Jake, her young TS carer, his new boyfriend Amos, Shawna (once adopted by Mary Ann and Brian), Michael, now in his 60s, and his young husband Ben. Interleaving chapters tell of their separate journeys to the festival, and what happens when they get there (Jake and his mates have built a giant tricycle in the shape of a monarch butterfly, with Anna's name as a tribute on the front of it, for the festival procession). They tell how each work towards what they want at this juncture of their lives.

Shawna wants a sperm donor - but who will it be, Michael, Ben, Caleb, or someone she's yet to meet? Jake wants to settle down with Amos, but is he the right one? Wren wants to penetrate the mystery of her new friend Anna. Michael wants to stay young enough for his youthful husband. Anna wants to fill in the gaps of her distant past. And the young Anna - Andy - wants to makes sense of Lasko, his first love all those years ago, whom he lets down so disastrously without meaning to. Death casts a long shadow in the direction of some of these characters, but mercifully only touches one.

One of the great achievements of this book, as with the whole series, is to show how we are all connected, at many different levels, sometimes with threads we barely notice, and that through love and respect and attachment we form families of the heart.

The dialogue is natural, witty, brilliant (it could easily come from a play); the psychology is spot on; the wisdom is everywhere, though laid on with a feather; and the prose is contemporary, crisp, honed to perfection. Perhaps honed too much - sometimes the storytelling was so finessed, so controlled, I began to hope for something else, something wild to bubble up from the depths, something unexpected to wrench the story from its gentle paths. That really only happened in the events surrounding Lasko's death, which made those pages - except for the last few chapters - the most absorbing for me. But I quibble: it's a joyous and satisfying read for someone who has not read any of the earlier novels; it must be so much more for those who have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENDEARING, ENCHANTING, UNFORGETTABLE, 1 Mar. 2014
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Anyone remember the 1970s when Armistead Maupin raised eyebrows and temperatures with his newspaper serial? We were introduced to an over-the-top cast of folks at Barbary Lane and the now lauded transgender landlady Anna Madrigal. Who thought, perhaps Maupin least of all, that this serial would become an internationally loved, bestselling series of eight books and a Peabody Award winning miniseries?

Today Maupin has taken us back to San Francisco in the ninth and final novel in his series - it is frosting on the cake. Anna is now 92-years-old, fragile but as plucky as ever. She's also a realist and determined to "Leave like a lady." Well, leave she may but she will forever be an important part of American popular literature.

In the latest story she is looked after by her much younger roommate Jake Greenleaf, the transgender gardener. Maupin reveals Anna's early life in several chapters - back to the time when she was a boy named Andy in the 1930s. The author also brings back other characters so readers can have a last look at where they are today. There is Brian Hawkins, a former tenant who is now 67 and remarried to Wren a 50-some former plus-sized model. Shawna, Brian's daughter, who is single, wants to have aa child and is in search of a sperm donor. As this is done it might be helpful if readers were familiar with earlier books, but whether or not it is a joyous and satisfying ride.

The Days of Ana Madrigal is an endearing story, rich with reconciliations, love, and a reminder of the unforgettable characters created by Armistead Maupin.

- Gail Cooke
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maupin at his best!, 1 Mar. 2014
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If, like me, you never want the Tales of the City series to end, you'll love this latest delight from Armistead Maupin. Although all the major characters are clearly getting older, you'll be glad to know he cannot bring himself to actually bump any of them off. (But there is a rather scary episode when Michael collapses.......). There is a sense of the end getting closer and characters wanting to address unfinished business, but this is done with the usual light and delicate Maupin touch so there is neither a sense of dread, nor any maudlin melancholy. Older and frailer the characters may be, but they are still very much full of life!
There are two principle narrative threads, one involving a desert festival, and the other is Mrs Madrigal returning to Winemucca. Of course, this being Maupin, the two threads cross and join each other in delightfully unexpected ways, and we learn a lot more about the young Andy Ramsey/Anna Madrigal. Her choice of name gains an added significance; it's more than just an apt anagram.. but you'll have to find that out for yourself. If you like Maupin, you'll enjoy the read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't let it end - but don't carry on unless there really is more story to tell, 24 Feb. 2014
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Simon Tavener - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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I have read - and re-read - this series on and off over more than 20 years. The characters have always felt like friends.

Reading this book was a horribly bittersweet experience. Knowing that this probably is the last time we will encounter the former residents of Barbary Lane made each page turn increasingly difficult. I am not quite emotionally ready to let go of everyone. I suspect the same is true for many fans.

This isn't the book for people new to Armistead Maupin's oeuvre. It is very much one for people who have read the others and want more.

And I do want more. I will always want to know what happens next. But the reality of it is, these living, breathing characters can't go on forever, that would just be impossible. But I still don't want to say goodbye.

There have been laughs as I read this. There have also been tears.

The series does have to end but I really wish it didn't.

Perhaps we could persuade Armistead to write something from the missing years. Some short stories? Something. Anything. Please?!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A saga drawing peacefully to its close?, 1 Mar. 2014
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Is this really the last tale of the city? Apparently so, although the book's ending closes no options. Maupin writes as beautifully as ever and he can amuse and move in equal measure. But, inevitably, the excitement of the early novels has waned. Then, the characters were bold and daring and it was bold and daring to be seen reading about them. A generation grew up and came out with Mouse and others. With age has come a certain weariness. Maupin has sought to counter this by cleverly taking Mrs Madrigal back in time to when she was the young boy Andy, son of the whorehouse - and that story within this novel is original, exciting, powerful and sad. But to bring all his great characters together in what may be their grand finale has required some contrivance, and it is more charming than compelling. But I would not have missed it, and it tempts me to go back to the beginning.
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The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City)
The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City) by Armistead Maupin (Audio CD - 21 Jan. 2014)
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