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Tales of the City: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – May 29, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780061358302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061358302
  • ASIN: 0061358304
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Since 1976, Maupin's Tales of the City has etched itself upon the hearts and minds of its readers, both straight and gay. From a groundbreaking newspaper serial in the San Francisco Chronicle to a bestselling novel to a critically acclaimed PBS series, Tales (all six of them) contains the universe--if not in a grain of sand, then in one apartment house. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Maupin's alternately playful and sentimental tales depict an all-too-easily satirized population of transients and toffs living in and around San Francisco.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam. Maupin worked briefly as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. The climate of freedom and tolerance he found in his adopted city inspired him to come out publicly as homosexual in 1974. Two years later, he launched his "Tales of the City" serial in the San Francisco Chronicle, the first fiction to appear in an American daily for decades.

Maupin is the author of nine novels, including the six-volume Tales of the City series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener and, most recently, Michael Tolliver Lives. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three novels in the Tales series. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.

He lives in Santa Fe with his husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.

Customer Reviews

Loved the characters and how they connected with each other.
Jim Weathersbee
TALES OF THE CITY by Armistead Maupin is a story about a group of characters living in San Francisco during the late 1970's.
I've already ordered the rest of the books in the series and look forward to reading further.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 111 people found the following review helpful By voyage2k on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
First things first when it comes to reading Maupin's Tales of the City series -- learn to read in segments. This first book flashes from place to place and character to character swiftly so that the reader can get an overall picture of the situation. Quite honestly, it reads much like if it were a television series (which it was on PBS and Showtime...two miniseries, so far). Thus, if you expect it to be full of long chapters and focusing on a conversation or situation for a long while, you're going to be disappointed (much as one of the more recent reviewers of this book was, I note). Maupin's tale of a newcomer to San Francisco, the naive and reserved Mary Ann Singleton, and her misadventures with the residents of Barbary Lane (Mrs. Madrigal, the gay and proud Michael, the liberated Mona, etc.) is the stuff of Dickens' serials, brought to the 1970s in a flash of humor, adventure and out-and-out 1970s wackiness. I have read and re-read and re-re-read the entire series over and over again and have never failed to be entertained by the characters or the situations they find themselves in. Truly one of the most brilliant series out there. Give it a chance -- you won't regret it!
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
I first read "Tales of the City" in its first printing in the late 1970's and waited with baited breath for the next edition to be printed. Each time I picked up a new book, it was like visiting with old friends. All of Armistead Maupin's characters are so real that I shall never again visit San Francisco without thinking about Mrs. Madrigal, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, Mary Ann Singleton or Mona. I especially liked the way in which Armistead Maupin delved into the psyches of each character. As the character of Michael was exactly my age when he was first created, and continued to age along with myself throughout the series, I very easily identified with his changing views of life in the city. It's a wonderful read which is a must for every serious library.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Tales of The City captures the very spirit of San Francisco in the 1970's, as the spirit of the city, which surely is represented by the nickname 'Frisco, died. The City was not moral, nor neat. The victorians were seedy, the City in decay. But, nonetheless, Maupin describes the city as it was; determined to have a good time as it always had. Maupin depicts the economic classes as if he knew them intimately, and portrays the provincialism as it exists, without making the City look the worse for it. I moved here in part because of these books, having awakened in me as they did, the memory of the San Francisco I knew, just after I cut the apron strings and was sent here by Uncle Sam. It is a different place today. Tales of The City captures it as it was. Yea, the people were lonely, they did a lot of drugs, had a lot of meaningless sex, and ended up in the 'eighties none the less. But didn't we all? The story is entertaining, especially when viewed for itself: it was a newspaper article. Unless your morality is a vague as your sexuality, Tales of The City will transport you to the recent past, in an age where we can't believe that history was actually being made, but it was, and we might have been there, but for some twist of fate, or geography. If it corrupts you...you were probably corrupted to begin with, and just waiting to be swept away.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Lewis Payton on February 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read the 'Tales' series in 1994. I remember cracking open the first book and falling in love within the first few pages. These were characters that I really wanted to get to know, here was a picture of gay love that wasn't veiled or shadowed.
A week went by spent entirely with my new friends (interrupted only by an inconvenient search through the bookstores of Perth for an elusive copy of 'Further Tales').
I remember almost going into shock when I closed 'Sure of You', so strongly had Mouse and co. entered into my life. How could I return to my dull life after such pleasure and joy! Well I did, and a year later (the day I saw the 'Tales' mini-series at a film festival) I came out to my best friend. I realised that it was time to take some of that joy and freedom off the pages and the screen and into my own life. Six years later, I'm happy to report that there's many an interesting 'tale' to tell...
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By CJA VINE VOICE on March 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a fun, late-20th Century take on the old theme of the virtuous midwestern girl who moves to the big city. Ulnlike Sister Carrie, though, Mary Ann Singleton is not so much the focus of the book as she is the touchstone by which other characters are measured and reveal themselves. Unfortunately, she lacks some of the emotional depth and appeal of Siste Carrie. Indeed, most of the characters in the book are paper thin. The result can be amusing and an excellent vehicle for satire, but not something that has great literary value. Maupin is more like Tom Wolfe than Dreiser in his ability to spin amusing yarns that have a good sense of the pulse of American culture, but without the depth and pathos that make for great literature.

The real hero of the book is not so much Mary Ann as it is the two most appealing gay characters (Michael Tolliver and the closet gay gynecologist) who, despite their untraditional lifestyles, conduct themselves according to a moral code that would resonate with traditional American and Christian values. Indeed, perhaps the book is most significant for its ability, 30 years ago in a different and less tolerant time, to portray gay characters realistically and sympathetically.

I find some of the upper class characters to be unbelievable and less than paper thin. Maupin is at his best in portraying the less lofty. Also, as a heterosexual who lived in San Francisco just a couple of years after this was written, I did not witness the ridiculously loose sexual mores portrayed in the book. Either Maupin is exaggerating to an unpardonable degree, or I horribly mis-spent by youth.

The plot is a soap opera, but the book on a whole is entertaining and worthwhile.
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