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Tales of the City (1978)

by Armistead Maupin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tales of the City (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,344841,905 (3.88)221
A naive young secretary forsakes Cleveland for San Francisco, tumbling headlong into a brave new world of laundromat lotharios and cutthroat debutantes.
Recently added bysergioferia, Diverse-City, private library, MenloPark, captainsunbeam, Laurel17, cmzera
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders
  1. 41
    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. 20
    Logical Family: A Memoir by Armistead Maupin (scaredda, scaredda)
    scaredda: Maupin explains in his memoir a lot of the references for his characters in Tales of the City.
    scaredda: Maupin gives a lot of reference about his characters in his Memoires.
  3. 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.
  4. 21
    Bite Me by Christopher Moore (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Both books capture San Francisco in unique ways.
  5. 00
    The Thing About Alice by Jean-Luke Swanepoel (Anonymous user)
  6. 00
    A Room in Chelsea Square by Michael Nelson (Anonymous user)
  7. 00
    The Emperor Waltz by Philip Hensher (jonathankws)
  8. 00
    The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt (jonathankws)

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» See also 221 mentions

English (77)  French (5)  German (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
I still love it--I've loved it since it was lent to me in 1988--but some of it hasn't aged particularly well. That's okay with me; one of its best qualities is its very firm place in time, and the subsequent books carry that on. But I wonder if new readers will get out of it the same things I do just because I remember the 70s pretty well.

One thing I noticed this time is that Mary Ann is set up from the very beginning to be exactly who she turns out to be in Sure of You, which I haven't read since it was first published because... well... I hated who she turned out to be. I didn't remember until I got there how it ended, but now I remember that the last time I read it this bothered me too--does Mary Ann feel absolutely no responsibility to tell the authorities and get some help for Lexy (the little girl), even if it means she'll have to answer uncomfortable questions? Ugh. Even for the one of the Me Generation in the Me Decade, that seems pretty callous.

Anyway, even by the time I read it in 1988, it was pretty difficult to imagine moving to San Francisco and finding a place of your own. The people I knew who were moving out there then had multiple roommates and *still* paid more rent than I could even imagine affording. So even by the time I first read it, it had a nostalgic feel. Now, of course, it feels like (and is) a gentle, distant past that will never come around again. But I love to visit it from time to time in these books. ( )
  VintageReader | Oct 6, 2020 |
WOW! Recommended by a friend. I put off reading this book because it seemed like such a commitment to read the entire series. What a shame that it took me this long to read. Mr. Maupin makes the characters come alive and I feel as though I am in San Francisco living out their days with them. I could not put this book down and finished in 2 days. ( )
  sunnydrk | Jul 25, 2020 |
delicious satire on hetero & homosexual lifestyles in 70s
  ritaer | Apr 10, 2020 |
my god, this was SO much fun.

camp, cheeky, sexy and full of drama. the characters all have weird names and there's a LOT of them but they all start to intersect and interact (and interfere) with each other's lives in a way that is totally delicious. i adored it and think it's kind of in the spirit of like queer as folk or the l word only better.

full of twists, turns, lightning-fast dialogue and such a beautiful love letter to san francisco.

a total delight! ( )
  lydia1879 | Feb 1, 2020 |
This feels unfinished, which might be as there are other books with a similar title. Marianne comes from the stick to San Francisco for a week and stays for much longer. Starting with her, it tells tales of her and her extended circle of aquaintance. It is entertaining, but has an air of (I'm struggling for the right word here) innocence or naievity in the various sexual relationships here (everyone has sex with almost everyone else with gay abandon!). It seems to be set in the second half of the 70s, prior to the Aids crisis being uncovered and so there is a freedom that would seem to be mistaken in later years. At times it is funny, at times sad, at times there is an eye roll moment. Marianne is a very safe centrepoint, and her affair is the one element that seems out of character, almost. ( )
  Helenliz | Dec 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Un petit bijou d'humour et d'humanisme.
added by Ariane65 | editBiba

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Armistead Maupinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lindholm, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDormand, FrancesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.
--Oscar Wilde
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.
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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A naive young secretary forsakes Cleveland for San Francisco, tumbling headlong into a brave new world of laundromat lotharios and cutthroat debutantes.

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