The Days of Anna Madrigal.

Author:Maupin, Armistead
Position:Book review

Armistead Maupin's beloved Tales of the City series, about the lives of group of sexually diverse inhabitants living at 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco, started with Tales of the City (1978). Eight novels later, the series's ninth and final novel, The Days of Anna Madrigal, spotlights one of Maupin's central characters.

The Story: It's hard to believe, but Anna Madrigal, the pot-smoking, transgender den mother who brought diverse lives together[mdash]Mary Ann Singleton, Brian Hawkins, Michael Tolliver[mdash]at her home at 28 Barbary Lane is now a frail 92 and committed to "leaving like a lady." With Brian, she takes a final trip to Winnemucca, Nevada, the town she left as a teenager, where she revisits troubled secrets and painful memories from the childhood she led in the brothel her mother owned. Meanwhile, Michael and his husband, as well as Brian's grown daughter, head to Burning Man, where Jake Greenleaf, Anna's caretaker, is planning to honor her life with his art. Of course, Anna and her friends' paths collide at Black Rock, and throughout her journey, Anna comes to terms with her life's ups and downs.

Harper. 288 pages. $26.99. ISBN: 9780062196248

Guardian (UK)

"Even if the internet has robbed Maupin of his ability to scandalise, he has lost none of his ability to skewer contemporary fads while politely imparting morsels of arcane sexual knowhow. ... Who else but Maupin can write a scene in which a 67-year-old and his 40-year-old husband enjoy a threeway in an orgy tent with a much younger man wearing nothing but horns and goat legs and have the encounter seem ineffably wholesome and transformative?" PATRICK GALE

Los Angeles Times

"Melodrama is Maupin's stock-in-trade, the essence of an ongoing social novel that began as a daily newspaper serial, with a cliffhanger every 900 words. It's what he does with it that's important, and in The Days of Anna Madrigal, he is as moving as he has ever been." DAVID L. ULIN

San Francisco Chronicle

"It is the ending that Maupin's enormous, generous achievement deserves: quiet, centered and sad. To ask if it's...

To continue reading