by Armistead Maupin
Library Journal Time marches on for all of us, including the beloved characters of Maupin's "Tales of the City" series (Mary Ann in Autumn; Babycakes). In what Maupin says is the last of the series, Anna Madrigal is 92 and frail; Michael is sixtysomething and feeling much older than his husband, Ben; and the youngest characters are starting to settle down. Once again, the characters revolve around Anna, but so does the plot; we see her backstory as a 16-year-old boy, growing up in a Depression-era brothel as she just begins to understand her nature. Interestingly, most of the action occurs far away from the eponymous city. Instead, the gang goes desert road-tripping: Anna on a last pilgrimage to the past, while the others go to the Burning Man festival, where the spirit of old San Francisco still lives on in collective art, community service, and freewheeling sexuality. VERDICT For fans definitely, but anyone may enjoy the peek into Burning Man culture, as well as the intergenerational twining of the characters and seeing just how far we have come in accepting ourselves. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]-Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly This ninth Tales of the City installment is Maupin's farewell to his beloved cast of characters. While his last few books have highlighted San Francisco's Michael "Mouse" Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, the author updates fans with 28 Barbary Lane's now-92-year-old transgendered landlady, Anna Madrigal. Anna is given the snappy, plucky dialogue she's known for, and some chapters reveal her backstory, including her 1930s childhood, when she was a boy named Andy. Everyone is on hand here: Brian, Mary Ann's ex and father of her daughter Shawna, makes an appearance, accompanied by his "fiftyish and luscious" new wife Wren, a former plus-sized model, along with Mouse and Mary Ann. Maupin's flare for dialogue and fully-realized, contemporary characterization is again on display, as he keeps things hip with the use of modern vernacular ("amazeballs", "chillax") and by incorporating iPads (Jake's "magic slate"), Angry Birds, missives on Twitter, and hooking up on Facebook. The story culminates in the group's attendance at the Burning Man "Fertility 2.0" festival, as Shawna searches for a sperm donor while Brian, Wren, and Anna detour off to Winnemucca for a revelatory reunion with Anna's past. Limned with the comfort of unconditional love yet reflective of the frailty, the uncertainty, and the beauty of aging, this installment is a memorable, satisfying capstone to his series. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list *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.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.