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Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin
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Tales Of The City (original 1978; edition 1984)

by Armistead Maupin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,417591,583 (3.9)140
Member:kkb
Title:Tales Of The City
Authors:Armistead Maupin
Info:Black Swan (1984), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2012, San Francisco

Work details

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (1978)

Recently added byPenskater, edgewood, Moloch, JackieCarroll, CSGD_USM, karen_o, ChadWS, scducharme, private library, tybows56
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders
  1. 31
    44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith (alic3_tj, cransell, Jannes)
    Jannes: Tales of the City was the main inspiration for McCall Smith Wehen he decided to write Scotland Street. The two books have a lot in common, including the episodic format, the light-hearted tone and the premise of a house and it's tenants.
  2. 10
    Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: Interlinked short stories set in and around an apartment block in 1930s Berlin. One of the short stories was the inspiration for the musical Cabaret.
  3. 21
    Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Both books capture San Francisco in unique ways.
  4. 01
    Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: Similar to Tales of the City as this book has an episodic format set in an apartment block in Helsinki with an off-kilter plot including a mail order bride and a troll
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» See also 140 mentions

English (54)  French (4)  German (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Vis-a-vis California, there are two kinds of people: People who love it and immediately feel at home and would never leave, and people who... don't feel like that. I lived in Oakland for two years, worked in San Francisco, and I was a person who left. The Bay Area just wasn't for me - but I was there. Reading this felt like reading a version of the people I knew from 25 years before; things haven't changed *so* much. And it wasn't the place for me, so this book didn't touch me the way it seems to touch others.

I also can't help but wish things were more fleshed out at the end, since I wasn't really planning to read the series. Ah well.
  g33kgrrl | Dec 16, 2014 |
Call it 3.5 stars, I'm a little torn.

It's a breezy and in the year 2011, dated slice-of-life novel set in 1976 San Fransisco. I think it's of some small importance to remember that this novel (as well as the next three in the series) were originally published regularly as a newspaper serial. I think that a reader younger than 30 and/or one who is unfamiliar/intimidated by gay culture would have a tough time with this book, but the story is just perfect for film/tv adaptation, which is has been more than one occasion, so a younger reader would probably LOVE this story on tv, in my opinion.

As neither, I enjoyed it, but the word that just doesn't leave my mind is "breezy". Like much of the culture of the time, major plot developments and emotional events are dealt with by both Maupin and his characters by attempting to pass them off as no big deal. Death, sex, drug use, family, the quest for meaning in existence are all touched on, but done so in as nonchalant a manner as is humanly possible, both by the characters, and often by the prose itself. At the not-terribly-ripe-but-at-least-less-fresh age of 35, I just know that people don't work that way, although I've certainly seen enough of them TRY to look (and feel) that way. People are impacted by events, despite their efforts to look cool. I would have been less bugged by this had the prose broken into the third-person omniscient once or twice to just suggest that events had caused some deep thoughts. Granted, there are scenes where events cause people to cry. Actually, the characters cry a lot. Like all the time. But it's not the kind of silent doubt and deep thought that real people do when they see anything that makes them think. I don't need Naturalism here, it's not Dostoyevsky, but a dash of it would have made these characters very human and approachable. The most human by far is one who from what little I understand about what happens next, is one of the central figures of the later novels (I don't spoil things for myself).

So having been critical of it, I DID enjoy it, and I very much wanted to give it 4 stars, but I just couldn't do it. I haven't decided whether or not to try the next book, but I'm leaning towards doing so, and will add it to my to-read list just in case. It's a good book, and if you've been thinking of giving it a try, please do so, it's good enough to get off the fence for. If you're thinking about getting ON that fence, and homosexual 1970's S.F. is NOT your thing, you'll probably be frustrated, and perhaps you should move on.
( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
Call it 3.5 stars, I'm a little torn.

It's a breezy and in the year 2011, dated slice-of-life novel set in 1976 San Fransisco. I think it's of some small importance to remember that this novel (as well as the next three in the series) were originally published regularly as a newspaper serial. I think that a reader younger than 30 and/or one who is unfamiliar/intimidated by gay culture would have a tough time with this book, but the story is just perfect for film/tv adaptation, which is has been more than one occasion, so a younger reader would probably LOVE this story on tv, in my opinion.

As neither, I enjoyed it, but the word that just doesn't leave my mind is "breezy". Like much of the culture of the time, major plot developments and emotional events are dealt with by both Maupin and his characters by attempting to pass them off as no big deal. Death, sex, drug use, family, the quest for meaning in existence are all touched on, but done so in as nonchalant a manner as is humanly possible, both by the characters, and often by the prose itself. At the not-terribly-ripe-but-at-least-less-fresh age of 35, I just know that people don't work that way, although I've certainly seen enough of them TRY to look (and feel) that way. People are impacted by events, despite their efforts to look cool. I would have been less bugged by this had the prose broken into the third-person omniscient once or twice to just suggest that events had caused some deep thoughts. Granted, there are scenes where events cause people to cry. Actually, the characters cry a lot. Like all the time. But it's not the kind of silent doubt and deep thought that real people do when they see anything that makes them think. I don't need Naturalism here, it's not Dostoyevsky, but a dash of it would have made these characters very human and approachable. The most human by far is one who from what little I understand about what happens next, is one of the central figures of the later novels (I don't spoil things for myself).

So having been critical of it, I DID enjoy it, and I very much wanted to give it 4 stars, but I just couldn't do it. I haven't decided whether or not to try the next book, but I'm leaning towards doing so, and will add it to my to-read list just in case. It's a good book, and if you've been thinking of giving it a try, please do so, it's good enough to get off the fence for. If you're thinking about getting ON that fence, and homosexual 1970's S.F. is NOT your thing, you'll probably be frustrated, and perhaps you should move on.
( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
This was a quick fun read, and I am tempted to read some of the others in the series. It's pretty light-hearted and loosely connected at first, but gradually comes together with more of a coherent plot connecting the main characters. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Sep 1, 2014 |
When I started this, I assumed that the chapters (originally published serially) were just delicious character vignettes, and I was afraid that they would just be too dated to identify with. As I progressed, the it became obvious that one can always connect with good characters, and suddenly the intertwined nature of the group morphed into a plot in which I was invested. So much fun. I was thrilled to hear that More Tales of the City carries on with the same characters. ( )
  alwright1 | Aug 11, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Armistead Maupinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lindholm, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDormand, FrancesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.
--Oscar Wilde
Dedication
For my mother and father and my family at The Duck House
First words
Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.
Quotations
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
«Personne n’est heureux. Et puis qu’est-ce qu’être heureux ? Puisque le bonheur s’arrête dès qu’on rallume la lumière.»

«Parfois j’ai le sentiment que le bon Dieu a mis les femmes sur cette terre pour rappeler aux hommes l’heure des cocktails.»

«La nuit de Noël est la plus horrible des nuits pour rester seul au lit, car le réveil ne ressemble pas du tout aux pubs Kodak avec des gosses en pantoufles... Ca ressemble à n’importe quelle autre journée de l’année !»

«Il y a de meilleurs moyens que le sexe pour créer des liens profonds. Et durables.»

«Noël est une conspiration pour bien faire sentir aux célibataires qu’ils sont seuls.»

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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060964049, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A naive young secretary forsakes Cleveland for San Francisco, tumbling headlong into a brave new world of laundromat lotharios and cutthroat debutantes.

(summary from another edition)

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