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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 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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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2014
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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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 April 2014
I adore the entire TOTC series and i am so glad Armistead Maupin decided to revisit the books after Sure of You, which once upon a time, was the last book. (he has since written Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn and this one).

However, despite being a huge fan of Anna Madrigal (and who wouldn't be?), I don't think this is the best book in the series.

Best bits:
1.Great to see Brian back- as a character he has grown more than any other and was sadly missing from Mary Ann in Autumn.
2.It's also great to see who Brian ended up married to- a very welcome return to a character I thought was wonderful first time round and just as wonderful second time round.
3. I loved that the book contained lots of Anna Madrigal and that she has a tight network of loves ones : her "logical family".

Not so good bits:
1. Whilst I think Shawna is a great character (I always imagine her as Janeane Garofalo), I grew tired of her quest and irritated by it's all-too-easy conclusion after involving everyone and causing ripples among those who care for her.
2. Mary Ann's cameo seemed so overly convenient and stuck on at the end like an afterthought. Maupin makes coincidence believable, but this asked a lot of me.
3. The bits about life at Winnemucca could have been condensed a bit more. The desert whorehouse did go on a bit loong, despite making significant points relevant to the story.

Conclusions: whilst the book held my attention unequivocally, I did feel little waves of disappointment. However, I am glad Maupin wrote it and if he wanted to keep churning them out, I would always buy them and read them from cover to cover.
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on 6 November 2016
Fantastic book - I first read these when in snippets (sent by post by a friend living in SF - no email in those days) from the San Francisco Times and again when first published - a real reminder of life in the 70's and 80's - but hey Amazon - just because I buy books by a Gay writer (not that it is relevant) - it does not mean that I only buy 'gay' products so stop focusing my 'things I may like list' with a focus on what you consider to be Gay products - anyone can read excellent and entertaining books and sexuality has got nothing to do with it!!!!!
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 October 2014
This is, according to Armistead Maupin, the last of the novels that make up the Tales of the City series. I was delighted when he started writing them again after a long break. Now I'm sad all over again. I do not want this to be the last of the books, but the ending pretty much ties up all the loose ends from all the previous books and makes me think that this time there won't be a last minute come back to cheer me up.

You need to have read all the previous books in the series to make any sense of this one, so there is absolutely no point in me rehashing any of the plot here. If you're intrigued go ahead and start with the first book. You won't be disappointed. They remain some of the finest books I've ever read.

I very much enjoyed exploring Anna's past in this book, although I'd have liked to have spent a little more time with Mouse and Brian. When all the characters are so loveable it's hard not to feel cheated out of their company.
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on 1 March 2014
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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on 23 April 2014
Armistead Maupin's ninth (and last?) novel in the Tales of the City cycle is a treat for fans (though not the place for newcomers to start). Mouse and his lover Ben, Anna'a carer, Jake, and Brian's daughter, Shawna, head off to Burning Man, whilst Brian and his new wife, Wren, take Anna on a voyage of remembrance, back to Winnemucca and her boyhood days. Mary Ann pops up for good measure, and the spirits of DeDe and D'Orothea, Mona's ghost and others benevolently waft in and out of the narrative.

If the tone is at times nostalgic and elegiac (or is that just my reading), the book -- like its predecessors -- wears its radical components as lightly as gossamer. For more than 35 years (the first Tales was published in 1978) Maupin has invited us to love his ragtag family of dreamers, queers and misfits. They (and we) have mostly survived over three decades of racial and sexual prejudice and persecution, the AIDS pandemic, and of course personal tragedy. His cast is flawed but triumphant -- and in Anna's case, at least doubly transcendent by the end. It's a gorgeous, emotionally loaded read, that fans will not be able to finish without gasps of recognition and delight as well as tears of sorrow and joy.
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on 8 August 2016
Of course I love Tales of The City - I grew up with them - Armistead Maupin's cast of characters are like old friends I've known all my adult life. I haven't always loved the new books - and I'm sometimes a bit frustrated by the next generation of characters - who can feel cheesy and occasionally downright annoying but in this book Armistead is on form. OK, so Shawna is back - mildly less irritating than before but the focus on Anna Madrigal and her teenage years balances that out. It's touching, sweet and optimistic - and it ended way too soon.
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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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