Tales Of The City: Tales of the City 1 Paperback – 25 May 1984
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"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)
The first volume in the widely acclaimed and much-loved seriesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The 'tales' belong to a wide and diverse cast. Mary Ann is new to San Francisco, moving into lodgings at 28 Barbary Lane. She's quiet and uncontroversial, very different to the other tennants living in the house. Mona seems unsure of what she wants from life and relies on sedatives to get through the day, Michael is gay, skint and looking for a good man (I loved him, especially in the scene with the jockey shorts in the bar), Brian sleeps with any woman he can find and landlady Anna Madrigal grows marijuana in the garden... plus there's an array of supporting characters each with their own secrets. Their lives are carefully and cleverly interwoven to create one world from what is essentially a series of short stories.
I liked how the scenes were snappy - most just a few pages long - and there was a lot of dialogue which added to the already fast pace. The dry humour and cutting remarks reminded me of a soap opera and have retained relevance 37 years after they were first written. Maupin lived in the San Francisco he was writing about and it shows, there's a realism in even the most outlandish of situations and that made me care about the characters and their plight.
This book is older than I am, and I imagine it was shocking when originally published (and probably still would be now to some readers!) Race, sexuality, drugs and infidelity are key to the plot and talked about openly, nothing is off limits.Read more ›
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!
It can stand alone but there are follow up volumes.
It takes place in San Francisco in the mid 70s but it does not seem dated at all.
It follows the lives of a disparate group of characters all loosely connected; including a sympathetic pot growing landlady hiding a secret about herself. Then there is the lovable Michael: a gay single man known as Mouse and his roommate Mina and a recent resident of the city who hails from Cleveland. Some are gay and some are straight and many are flawed but all are entertaining.
It flows well and is easy to read.
I can't wait to read how the characters get on in the follow on volumes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Presenting tales about San Francisco inhabitants its really just ok this and nothing better. Its hugely over-rated stuff. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mr. Robert Marsland
good reading, great condition, speedy delivery. Perfect!! thankyou :)Published 3 months ago by KurlyKarma:)
Great read. Excellent character portrayals and reflection of the life in San Francisco in the 70s.
Good value and shipped quickly '
Introduced to this series of books by a friend and they are so entertaining.Published 7 months ago by Sandra