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Significant Others by Armistead Maupin
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Significant Others (1988)

by Armistead Maupin

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Seeking a change in her life, Mary Ann Singleton moves to San Francisco, soon finding herself living at 28 Barbary Lane. Her life becomes intertwined with those of her varied neighbors and a myriad of colorful characters.

The novel is a look at San Francisco in the 1970s, exploring "alternative lifestyles" and "underground" culture.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Better to review these together as my comments will almost certainly apply equally.

If you're not already aware of the Tales of the city books, then you're missing a treat. I think they were originally written as a newspaper serial, so the chapters are short & snappy. All the characters interlink, some directly, some in the most haphazard manner, but always in an amusing and touching way.

Mostly they are centred on Mrs Madrigals house in Barberry Lane, San Francisco and her wierd & wonderful tennants. They fall in and out of love, find they are related in random ways. In particular, there is a strong thread of non-traditional(desperately searching for a better work here, but just can't put my finger on one) relationships and how AIDS ravaged the gay community in San Francisco.

These two books are the last in the original series (although he has written a couple more since - along the lines of a 20 years on catch up for a couple of characters) and follow the usual pattern. I guess they're really a written Soap Opera, but so much better.

Always a delight to read & always a very quick read as you can't put them down until you find out what happens & how all the the threads are going to come together. Better search out the 20 year catch ups now! ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Very very fun. A fast-moving ride. I recently finished 'Babycakes' after several years since reading the earlier books in the series and I had a little struggle with that one reconnecting with the cast of characters. Since they were still fresh in my mind, i figured why not continue on. And what a great idea! This is like a sitcom in book form. Interesting, flawed characters plunging through life, making some bad decisions while doing their best.....all start on a collision course for a ridiculous clash of cultures. Silly situations populated with silly people that you cannot help but root for. Slightly dated, for sure, but it was my time, so I'm thrilled with the dated-ness. Do not think this would necessarily stand so well on its own without the context of the earlier books, but well worth the brief amount of time invested to barrel through. Think I'll read the final one in this series soon. Yay. ( )
  jeffome | Apr 20, 2015 |
definitely the best in the series so far. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
Most light-hearted of the second group of three books, with a wonderful farcical story line involving neighbouring all-male and all-female holiday retreats. There's a new romantic interest for Michael, whilst Mary Ann and Brian and DeDe and D'Or all find their relationships being tested. AIDS is still there in the background, but we're allowed to feel a little bit more positive about life. ( )
  thorold | May 2, 2012 |
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Epigraph
If you go down in the woods today
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home.
For every Bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic
- children's song, 1907
Dedication
For Terry Anderson, who took his time getting here 
For Jane Stuart Maupin, who has been there all along
First words
Brian's internal clock almost always woke him at four fifty-six, giving him four whole minutes to luxuriate in the naked human body next to him.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060924810, Paperback)

"An extended love letter to a magical San Francisco."
--New York Times Book Review

Tranquillity reigns in the ancient redwood forest until a women-only music festival sets up camp downriver from an all-male retreat for the ruling class. Among those entangled in the ensuing mayhem are a lovesick nurseryman, a panic-stricken philanderer and the world's most beautiful fat woman. Significant Others is Armistead Maupin's cunningly observed meditation on marriage, friendship, and sexual nostalgia.

"Comedy in its most classical form...some of the sharpest and most speakable dialogue you are ever likely to read."
--The Guardian

"The color is wonderful, the line bold and flowing. It is also wise, witty, loving and caring about the foibles and frailties we all seem to have."
--David Hockney

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Tranquillity reigns in the ancient redwood forest until a women-only music festival sets up camp downriver from an all-male retreat for the ruling class. Among those entangled in the ensuing mayhem are a lovesick nurseryman, a panic-stricken philanderer, and the world's most beautiful fat woman. Significant Others is Armistead Maupin's cunningly observed meditation on marriage, friendship, and sexual nostalgia.… (more)

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