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.
Among the cast of this groundbreaking saga are the lovelorn residents of 28 Barbary Lane: the bewildered but aspiring Mary Ann Singleton; the libidinous Brian Hawkins; Mona Ramsey, still in a sixties trance; Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, forever in bright-eyed pursuit of Mr. Right; and their marijuana-growing landlady, the indefatigable Mrs. Madrigal.
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"Maupin, with all his elegance and charm, has found a place among the classics." (The Observer)
While it's highly welcome to have TOTC on Audible, this omnibus is a collection of the abridged versions of all the books. Minor but important plot points that add depth and understanding to the characters are missing.
Good listen but there are no indications to where one book ends and another starts. I understand that they are continuous but it would still be good to know if this is Tales of the City or More Tales of the City...
Love the portrayal of the times, the great characters, and the serendipity. Maupin has an eye for contemporary society and its quirks.
As I see it, the beauty of the books is in the city and its characters. In order to get the books short enough, so much of that was cut, leaving the books gray and boring in comparison. In my opinion, it's better to avoid the series altogether that listen to it like this.
I lived in San Francisco at the end of the time when this novel was serialized in The Chronicle newspaper. I remember reading it with some puzzlement at first, and later with a sense of enjoyment. I had an apartment that looked into Trader Vic's parking lot, and I would spend Friday evenings sitting on the fire escape watching the comings and goings: Tales of the City reminds me of those moments. However, absent that social scene, that society, that oddly innocent moment, I'm not sure the stories really stand up well today. At times it seems almost elegiac, which was not the original intent. Something unfortunate seems to have happened to the dreams, the beliefs, the energy we had back then, which is not the novel's fault, yet it somehow affects how one thinks of it today. The narration is all right, not affected by overdone "voices", but it isn't wonderful either.
What I love most about this story is all the real reference to the City I love the most. I grew up in the Bay Area and was the first in 6 generations to move out of the state. The characters are interesting and the references bring me back home.
What I didn't like was the quick movement from one plot to the next. Not sure if this is because it was originally done as a newspaper story or if it is the way it was edited for Audible. I find that I am often going back just to make sure I that I did not miss something by not paying attention.
I am still enjoying the story.
I think this book is a wonderful trashy distracting read for anyone who think they could enjoy a fabulously dated but yet still timeless soap opera of wayward queers and their friends in SF. This book got me through a couple thousand miles of really boring driving. Get it... their good washing the dishes or driving real far or taking a nice long bath alone stories.
If you want to get lost in something that requires no thought, just some fluffy entertainment, then this might be for you. The narration is kind of clumsy, which is surprising since it is the author reading his own work!
well written and well narrated but the stories didn't do much for me and i gave up on the book after listening to part 1. slice of life topics that i don't have any connection to. if i had lived in san francisco i may have liked it more.
My friend and I have been listening to this one off and on for some time as we travel. It is a blast and holds your interest. Sometimes there are long intervals between opportunites to listen, but it is easy to pick up where you left it. Maupin's characters are great.
I first read the Tales of the City series about 15 years ago and I have visited the residents of Barbary Lane every couple of years since. As a 'newish' member of Audible I seized the opportunity to reacquaint myself with Mrs. Madrigal, Mary Ann, Brian, Mona and my overall favourite character, Mouse. Maupin?s characters are most definitely 3-D, flawed but endearing. Set in San Francisco, this audiobook charts the ebb and flow of the character?s relationships from the early 1970s to the 1980s. Although I was really pleased to have all six books in one audiobook, it was noticeable that some substance of the books was missing and the technical details don?t mention if it is an abridged version (hence the 4 rather than 5 stars). This is a great listen if you aren?t particularly prudish or if you love San Francisco and if both apply then I guarantee you?ll enjoy it.
"BEST AUDIOBOOK ON AUDIBLE"
I have owned this audiobook now for two years and have listened to Tales of the City more than twenty times in that space of time! Maupin's characters are colourful, humorous and wonderfully real. I can't recommend this audiobook more!
"Just get it!"
Gay or straight, young or old just get it. Just get it! It entertaining, real, sad, happy. It brings incite and reality. It shows the good, the bad, the ugly and the true. It's real. Get it!
"Gee, it is nice to be back home!"
It has been sometime (around 20 years) I have read the legendary "Tales of the City". It made me move all the way from Turkey to San Francisco, and I have enjoyed every bit of the stay for four years. So, after all this time, it was a pleasure to go back to Barbary Lane!
I highly recommend that you get all three of them, it is easy listening, though at first the reader seems to be bored and does not read very enthusiastic, but after sometime he gets into it as well.
It is once again very interesting to find out how Bay Area has set the trend for the rest of the world some 30 years ago!
3 stars because it is abridged and someone with more soul could make the stories and characters livelier.
Yet, it is a classic!
"Unexpectedly abridged.... but TOTC rocks!"
Like another said, the original details didn't make it clear this recording is ALL six books, so about 2-3h per book (seems to have been updated now on audible site). Much of the detail is therefore lost, and if I hadn't read the books (MULTIPLE times) before, I think I might have found it a bit choppy to follow. I was very disappointed to start with on listening to this abridged version, however..... it is still Maupin, its still the TOTC characters, and I LOVE the books. The narrator doesn't always do some of the characters justice, nor the highs and lows of the story..... but its still one of my favourite written series and I can fill in the gaps in my own mind as I listen.
"I still love these stories..."
I read this series about 8 years ago, and loved it. I was so excited to see the entire series in one audiobook...it makes it excellent value for money. And it didn't disappoint - it was wonderful to listen to the tales again!! The only reason I have given this 4 stars instead of 5 is the narration. I liked the narrators voice, but it was funny when he did the girls voices!
I hope Night Listener and Maybe the Moon will be available soon!!
"Easy to fall in love with this City"
San Francisco is a magical city, full of surprises, but never disappointment, sometimes its impossible to see what's over the next hill - but the roads all lead in straight lines and the intersections lead you back to familiar territory and landmarks.
From Ghirardelli Square to Russian Hill and on to the downtown it's easy to jump aboard at any time and let Armistead Jones Maupin guide you through the sights, sounds and smells of the city. I guarantee you'll want to visit once you walked around The Bay.
A real pleasure of a book, which frequently made me laugh along the road and brought back the pleasure of being in San Francisco - highly recommended.
"Ooooh I'm loving this."
As a 'Tales of the City' virgin I bought this book on impulse and I'm loving it. I love audiobooks and plug myself in at every opportunity and this has made running/walking/cycling/even hoovering a pleasure to be eagerly anticipated! I like long books as it really gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself and at 18 hours this definitely qualifies! It is easy to see that it is based on a newspaper serial and that it covers several books as there are several distinct storylines. Basically, a saga, it covers relationships (of course!) - gay and straight; friendship; AIDS; child abduction; transubstantiation hmmmmm, what else - what else do you want!
I hadn't heard of this title until it was on Radio 4 book of the week and I was hooked, the fabric of this book is rich in both characters and there are plenty of them along with the storylines. Listening to this audio has been one of lives little pleasures and I will truly miss them 5 Stars all the way.
For me this was a nominated book by a book club, so not my choice. I found the style difficult and was surprised to learn it was made into a tv series after being written, when it seemed more the other way round! Too much chopping and changing from character to character, so I never felt like I knew any of them and this made it difficult to be interested in what was happening to them.
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