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The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Tales of the City) Hardcover – January 21, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Tales of the City
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; F First Edition edition (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062196243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062196248
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (478 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Alas, this is the ninth and final novel in Maupin’s beloved Tales of the City series, the first three volumes of which were made into a television miniseries starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis, which has now achieved cult status. But let’s not mourn the end of this run of rich, loving novels. Instead, let’s read this tender last one as a celebration of the wonderful characters Maupin created, whose lives have centered on landlady and den-mother Anna Madrigal’s home at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco. Anna is now 92 years old, as infirm as her age would dictate, but the feisty, generous, selfless spirit that has guided her and attracted so many people to her side remains unbroken. While a group of her friends heads off to Burning Man, the wild arts festival held yearly in the Nevada desert, other friends of Anna’s take her back to her hometown, also in Nevada, which she has not visited since she left there as a boy in the 1930s, and where she now hopes to reconcile a situation that has been on her mind since then. Admirably, Maupin’s last novel in the series is as compulsively readable and endearing as all previous novels have been. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An eight-city author tour will be accompanied by national-media and online-publicity campaigns. --Brad Hooper

Review

“Wonderful … Maupin’s last novel in the (Tales of the City) series is as compulsively readable and endearing as all the previous novels have been.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Maupin spins his usual good-hearted web of intrigues involving people who have created their own communities.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The ninth Tales of the City installment is Maupin’s farewell to his beloved cast of characters … Maupin’s flare for dialogue and fully realized contemporary characterizations is again on display … this installment is a memorable, satisfying capstone to his series.” (Publishers Weekly)

Customer Reviews

Love the characters and the story.
Leslie Wills
For those who have read the series this book is a great ending, or is it an end.
ScottNWDW
I recommend this book to fans of Tales of the City and of Armistead Maupin.
Gary in Sun City, AZ

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I remember picking up a copy of TALES OF THE CITY way back in 1978 at a local bookstore. It was love at first sight and it has never wavered. Waiting for the next in the series is one of the joys of being alive. Now we have what is being called the last novel in the series THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL, perhaps the most beloved of all of Armistead Maupin's many lovable characters. And we are reminded, a little sadly, that nothing lasts forever. The orange and black Monarch butterfly does not flutter its beautiful wings for long.

Besides Mrs. Madrigal, the characters who over the years have become as real to us as our own friends and family are back again: chiefly Brian, Michael, Mary Ann and Shawna. Of course Mr. Maupin adds other characters, Lasko, Margaret, Wren (sort of) et al. Without giving away too much of the plot, Mrs. Madrigal (we finally find out where she got her name) has unfinished business; and time is not on her side. After all, she is now 92, in frail health and smokes medical marijuana rather than the delicious pot she used to grow herself. By the way, she finds it tiresome being told that she is immortal. And all these characters make their way to Nevada, some to a Burning Man event, while Mrs. Madrigal and others travel to the place where she lived until she ran away at 16, Winnemucca.

Mr. Maupin has not lost his touch. All the elements we have come to expect of his story-telling are here. The story is always a little quirky, just off-center with enough surprises to keep us guessing but always firmly set in the here and now, mirroring the times. We are then not surprised that characters are on FaceBook, they google, they use Craigslist, they navigate with a GPS, they travel in Rvs, they use You Tube.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By George I. Greene VINE VOICE on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was first introduced to Tales of the City by my late friend Daniel. We were both from Cleveland, so it brought smirks to our faces. Instead of the west coast, we went east to NYC. He died from AIDS shortly after my daughter was born in 1990. I miss him very much.

It is hard to review this book because of the twist and turns in the plot. I do not wish to spoil anything for the fans and perhaps new fans of this series. Let me just say that I found it pleasing though in spots the prose was a bit rough. The plotline concerning Anna was the most satisfying. We learn her his-story which predates her hers-story. One may even say that one finds the source of her compassion which is felt throughout the entire series.

In a way, this book filled a private need for me since the passing of my friend. Through this book, I was allowed to see him through the character of Mouse grow old with both some insecurities and some wisdom. I had the chance to see how my friend might have lived his life. For that, I am grateful. It allowed me to hear chats that I miss so very much when I think of him. My friend Daniel, frenetic, never a loss for words, would have chortled, yes, chortled with these comments. He was just that way.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Donnelly VINE VOICE on November 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have loved Anna and the kids of 28 Barbary Lane for decades. I remember eagerly awaiting the San Francisco Chronicle when the stories first came out. They were serialized, and people awaited the next installment to see what happened next. Thus, when you look upon the first books, the chapters were short--say, the length of a newspaper column--and they teased and tantalized you so you'd want to read more.

Of course, those days are long past. And for many years, we all thought we would never hear from Anna Madrigal, Mouse, Mary Ann and Brian ever again. But with Michael Tolliver Lives, then Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City) and now The Days of Anna Madrigal, we can be with our old friends again.

While I loved the continuation of the story, I found that in the last two books, Maupin shifted from story line to character line. Gone were the twists and turns of old; in fact, while there were some plot twists, they seemed disjointed and flat. And in this book in particular, we got a deep history of Anna's life, but we never seemed to get into her head. We lived her past, but didn't hear or feel what was happening with her, in the now. I felt like even though this book was about Anna, she was almost absent from the story.

This feeling translated to the other characters as well. Brian and Mary Ann took back stage. Even though Brian had a major event in his life, we never got close to what he was thinking or feeling, just what he was DOING.

I felt like Maupin was observing his characters instead of speaking for him.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By I. Sondel VINE VOICE on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's funny how things work out. I share a place with my sister (we are the proverbial Baldwin sisters, she a widow, me a spinster). She flew to the left coast for a reunion with friends and I stayed home only to be reunited with my Barbary Lane friends. I am not a quick reader, I tend to savour, doubly true in this instance. I don't look at these books as independent volumes, but rather additional chapters in the same story. Maupin has said this is the last in the series. I hope not. Sinatra announced his retirement how many times? Who knows, maybe in ten years he'll desire yet another visit.

So, what's the verdict on The Days of Anna Madrigal? I loved it. All our friends both old and new are represented. However, my favourite part of this novel was learning about Andy Ramsey as a boy. Set in Winnemucca in 1936 it is a heartfelt, emotionally engaging coming-of-age tale. The ending was especially moving, simply executed and spiritually liberating for this reader - and not at all what I thought it would be. Oh sure, some of the story felt predictable (I thought I might go all Annie Wilkes at one point) and Armistead has always been rather free with a coinkydink - but we lovers of Tales of the City are comfortable with and accepting of these traits. Besides, coinkydinks happen. Why only last week I was writing about Mr. Tumnus and researching fauns and satyrs, and presto: a faun appears in these pages. Ah, serendipity.
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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.

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