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Paperback Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series, V. 1) Book

ISBN: 0060964049

ISBN13: 9780060964047

Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series, V. 1)

(Book #1 in the Tales of the City Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed a singular trail through popular culture -- from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel to a television event that entranced millions around the world. The first of six novels about the denizens of the mythic apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane, Tales is both a wry comedy of manners and a deeply involving portrait of a vanished era.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Fun, fun, fun!

This book is just fun, fun, fun--a well-written, absorbing novel that you won't want to put down. It takes place in the 1970s and intriguingly depicts the interwoven lives of a group of young people living in the same apartment building. It's the best kind of summer read--100% enjoyable, 100% intelligent, 100% good-hearted without being overly sappy.One other thing: this book does contain some depictions of sexuality--gay and straight--that could be seen as promiscuous, if you are inclined to think in those terms. However, the reviewer on this page who griped that Maupin was "irresponsible" to write this way (given the AIDS epidemic that surfaced in the 1980s) must not realize that this book was WRITTEN in the 1970s. It's an accurate depiction of how life was back then. If you read the other books in this six-part series, you'll see that as they move into the '80s Maupin DOES deal with AIDS by having his characters deal with it. These novels are actual snapshots of the time they were written, not some sort of retroactive nostalgia trip. They are fully realized, fabulous achievements, and open-minded readers will love them. All six books in the series are highly recommended.

San Francisco meets the Mary Tyler Moore Show

This book was the beginning of some wonderful friendships for me. The characters are good folks. I first read this book several years ago, watched it made into a series (which I really enjoyed), read the follow-up books, and this year saw Armistead Maupin speak in Austin, Texas on his speaking tour. The characters are warm, funny, real (and unreal, in the best sense) and genuinely fun to "be around". I was immediately reminded of the cast of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, with a squeaky-clean transplant coming into a new city, a new apartment, and making new friends. No, the characters are NOT interchangable, although in many ways, Mary Ann is much like Mary Richards, and Mona reminds me a lot of Rhoda, with her ascerbic humor, and even her weird relationship with her parent.But, as I said, this is not simply a re-hash of a popular 70s sitcom. In so many ways, it is a fun way to crawl into the skins of people in the San Francisco 70's-- a time and place completely unknown to me. And doesn't a good book transport you to another time and/or place? It demonstrates the attitudes of a completely different era--pre-AIDS and the somewhat amazing idea that there are (gasp) gay people who are actually happy and well-adjusted with straight friends and "family".I echo what another reviewer said: be careful when you pick this book up at bedtime. "One more chapter" turns into ten more. For the last three books, I bought the "omnibus" edition "Back to Barbary Lane" which was, frankly, what I should have done for the FIRST three. It's more economical, and I prefer to carry around one hardback than 3 paperbacks.Buy this book. Or better yet, buy the "omnibus" edition. Oh, hell, buy BOTH omnibus editions....you'll read 'em all anyway!

A tale of my own

I read the 'Tales' series in 1994. I remember cracking open the first book and falling in love within the first few pages. These were characters that I really wanted to get to know, here was a picture of gay love that wasn't veiled or shadowed.A week went by spent entirely with my new friends (interrupted only by an inconvenient search through the bookstores of Perth for an elusive copy of 'Further Tales').I remember almost going into shock when I closed 'Sure of You', so strongly had Mouse and co. entered into my life. How could I return to my dull life after such pleasure and joy! Well I did, and a year later (the day I saw the 'Tales' mini-series at a film festival) I came out to my best friend. I realised that it was time to take some of that joy and freedom off the pages and the screen and into my own life. Six years later, I'm happy to report that there's many an interesting 'tale' to tell...

A delightful starting point for a brilliant satire

First things first when it comes to reading Maupin's Tales of the City series -- learn to read in segments. This first book flashes from place to place and character to character swiftly so that the reader can get an overall picture of the situation. Quite honestly, it reads much like if it were a television series (which it was on PBS and Showtime...two miniseries, so far). Thus, if you expect it to be full of long chapters and focusing on a conversation or situation for a long while, you're going to be disappointed (much as one of the more recent reviewers of this book was, I note). Maupin's tale of a newcomer to San Francisco, the naive and reserved Mary Ann Singleton, and her misadventures with the residents of Barbary Lane (Mrs. Madrigal, the gay and proud Michael, the liberated Mona, etc.) is the stuff of Dickens' serials, brought to the 1970s in a flash of humor, adventure and out-and-out 1970s wackiness. I have read and re-read and re-re-read the entire series over and over again and have never failed to be entertained by the characters or the situations they find themselves in. Truly one of the most brilliant series out there. Give it a chance -- you won't regret it!

A brilliant, nostalgic expose of kinder and gentler times

I first read "Tales of the City" in its first printing in the late 1970's and waited with baited breath for the next edition to be printed. Each time I picked up a new book, it was like visiting with old friends. All of Armistead Maupin's characters are so real that I shall never again visit San Francisco without thinking about Mrs. Madrigal, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, Mary Ann Singleton or Mona. I especially liked the way in which Armistead Maupin delved into the psyches of each character. As the character of Michael was exactly my age when he was first created, and continued to age along with myself throughout the series, I very easily identified with his changing views of life in the city. It's a wonderful read which is a must for every serious library.

Tales of the City Mentions in Our Blog

Tales of the City in The Great American Read on PBS
The Great American Read on PBS
Published by Beth Clark • August 24, 2018
The Great American Read is a PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading as the core of an ambitious digital, educational, and community outreach campaign designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books. One hundred books, to be exact, so here are books 81–100 on the list!
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