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on 9 February 2014
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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on 4 March 2014
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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on 23 March 2014
I think we'd all love to be a member of Anna M.'s logical family and many of us have grown old with Michael and co. so we have a lot in common - from losing friends to AIDS to expanding waist-lines. 'Michael T lives' and 'Mary Ann's autumn' were slightly disappointing, let's be honest, but cruised a bit on the love that we all had for the first two trilogies of the nine book series. However, 'Days of Anna M.' is a return to form. Funny, moving and well-told; I felt really sad when I came to the end of the book. So if you have happy memories of the 'Tales' early books do give this a try.
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on 7 July 2014
An absolute fantastic read Assisted Maupin has done it again couldn't put the book down.
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on 17 February 2014
I really enjoyed this book. Automated Maupin has managed to answer many questions, some unasked, with style and grace.

A must for TOTC fans.
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on 1 February 2014
"The Days of Anna Madrigal" is the ninth Tales of the City book, and I'm sure readers who have come this far are not going to stop now: so this review is preaching to the converted. Armistead Maupin's books have given me an immense amount of pleasure (as well as tears) over the years and this one is no exception.

Anna Madrigal is now a frail ninety-two year old and her thoughts turn to her childhood in a Nevada whorehouse, and the young boy she once was. As she returns to the desert with unfinished business weighing on her heart, the other characters are making their way to the Burning Man festival where various epiphanies await. Once again there is plenty of coincidence and serendipity, but loose ends are also allowed to dangle. The result is a tremendously enjoyable read, and I read cursing the fact that the unread pages were diminishing so quickly. I was sad to say goodbye to this 'logical' family.
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on 5 February 2014
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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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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on 10 February 2014
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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on 8 March 2014
I had read the first six books about 20 years ago and forgotten just how much I had loved the characterisation, the speakable dialogue and interaction. I'd been sad when it seemed that that was the end of them. Then a friend gave me a signed copy of Michael Tolliver Lives a few years ago. Life had moved on since I'd first read them and. to my shame, it sat unread for those years. Then I heard that The Days etc was being released and I thought, hell, I'd better read about Mouse.

Well, I devoured it and it was like being reunited with old friends you hadn't seen for a while but were so comfortable with, you could pick right up where you left off! It was such a life affirming book.

So, ordered the last 2 about Mary Ann and Anna.

This book is really for the fans but SO glad he wrote it. I read a lot of SF which has played with gender issues, like being able to change genders over a course of a long life time (Iain Banks and others) or aliens who might have dual gender. Anna Madrigal was the first time in mainstream fiction that I had read such a positive portrayal of a transgender person.

Like Mr Maupin, I have been grappling with the changes in the LBGT world: non binary, gender queer, and what actually makes a man or a woman. He really seems to have got it!

I think I spent most of the last 30 pages or so in tears but like MIchael Tolliver Lives, it is still a life affirming book.

Will just have to go back to the beginning and start reading them again!
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