Suspenseful, comic, and profoundly moving, the latest novel in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series follows one of modern literature's most beloved and indelible characters - Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane - as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her complicated past.
Now ninety-two, and committed to the notion of "leaving like a lady," Mrs. Madrigal has seemingly found peace with her "logical family" in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker, Jake Greenleaf; her former tenant Brian Hawkins and his daughter, Shawna; and Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, who have known and loved Anna for nearly four decades.
Some members of Anna's family are bound for the otherworldly landscape of Burning Man, the art community in Nevada's Black Rock Desert where sixty thousand revelers gather to construct a city designed to last only one week. Anna herself has another Nevada destination in mind: a lonely stretch of road outside of Winnemucca where the 16-year-old boy she once was ran away from the whorehouse he called home. With Brian and his beat-up RV, she journeys into the dusty, troubled heart of her Depression-era childhood to unearth a lifetime of secrets and dreams, and to attend to unfinished business she has long avoided.
The ninth and final audiobook in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, The Days of Anna Madrigal is the triumphant resolution to a saga of urban family life that has enchanted and enlightened listeners around the world since 1976.
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I'm a long time fan of Maupin and the Tales of the City family. But this narrator is a terrible blunder. Everyone comes across as vulgar and not very bright. Mrs. Madrigal, in particular, has none of her dry wit and dignity, but other characterizations are just as bad. The voice is so jarring that it's hard to really judge the quality of the story. The author is the perfect narrator of his own work, and in this possibly last book, we should have had the gift of his own voice. If you love the series, buy the book itself instead of the recording.
This book, the latest in the Tales of the City series, is a trip down memory lane for its primary character -- Anna Madrigal. I have lived with these characters since I first began reading the series at the insistence of my lover in 1995. It didn't take long to fall in love with the residents of 28 Barabary Lane and all of the crazy connections and puzzle pieces as they plunked into place one at a time. Although they have all moved out and moved on, their friendship has withstood the test of time.
In this adventure, Anna Madrigal is reaching the end. She is 92 years old and is unable to walk easily by herself. Throughout the book, we learn many of the secrets of her life. She goes back to the Blue Moon Lodge in her mind and we learn how, in 1936, she left and never returned.
The familiar characters are here as well. Many of them play mere supporting roles, weaving in and out of the narrative to keep the story moving along.
Stories from the entire series are sprinkled around... It's not necessary to have read the rest of the series to appreciate them, but if you have, you will be thrown back to those events in your mind and will experience them all with a sense of nostalgia for the past. My favorite is Micheal's remembrance of dressing as Pan... It reminds me of old friends sitting around talking about the past.
I won't give any details away since that is half the fun of an Armistead Maupin novel, but suffice it to say that it was a satisfying installment in the TOtC series. Will there be others? Who knows? I hope so. Was this a final installment? If so, it is a beautifully written end to a wonderful series.
As far as Kate Mulgrew's narration goes, I can't imagine anyone (other than AM himself) being able to do a better job. She understands each of the characters and gives them a dialect here or a deeper voice there. Her narration made this a very enjoyable listen.
I recommend this title to any and all fans of the TOtC series.
Leading a busy life, Audible has let me reunite with my passion for literature.
This is, without doubt, the best title I have bought so far. Everything about this performance - from the story, to the pace, to the narration - is PERFECT! I bought it not knowing that it was the 9th book in a series, and it was still easily understood. I am going back now though, and reading them all. WELL-DONE!
Anna....you agree with me, I promise.
Stunning. I could not put this one away. I sincerely wish that she would narrate every title on here. There are many characters in this story, and she embodied each one, and gave them spirit that is truly memorable.
Many. But I'd hate to point them out and ruin the surprise.
All good things must come to an end and Armistead Maupin has done a beautiful job with this "Tales" bittersweet finale.
The one downside to this book was the narrator. I will be ordering the print version of this book just to read it without having to listen to her voice.
The last chapter (and specifically the last 5 minutes) made me a little misty-eyed.
I am anxiously awaiting the next book from Maupin.
My first audiobook and still packed all the emotional punch of the book. I have read the entire series and enjoyed hearing this one as much as I did reading the others.
Once again we're taken on a journey down the highway of Barbary Lane, with off-ramps to others that somehow intertwine with each other. Mr Maupin is wondrous in his talent at weaving the not-so-simple lives together. Pay attention as the past always find its future amongst the " logical a".
I truly hope this is not the end as there's so much more to look forward too!!
Excellent last book, but I miss Armistead's voice.
The whole series is like following a family of friends through the past thirty years. A wonderful account of a part of American history.
I have read/listened to all the Armistead Maupin books and liked them all but this one I felt went over the top with foul language. Perhaps people really do talk like that but it seems excessive and got to the point where I didn't want to continue the story. I did finish it, ultimately.
I thought it was well read
"Read the book"
This is a difficult book to listen to due to the narrator. With so many characters and much of the book being dialogue it is virtually impossible to differentiate between who's supposed to be talking.
It's great to catch up with the Tales of the City characters, although this seems to lack some of the intertwining magic of some of the other books
I think Kate is perfectly cast as Anna, and even the narrator. But she can't do voices, so there needed to be a couple of other actors recording other roles to help understand what's going on!
As an audiobook with various performers this would have been ideal, but with one reader who can't do accents or voices it was so monotonous that I stopped half way through and got the book
"Last hoorah from my old friends from Barbary Lane"
It is very hard not to come at this review without impressing my love and many years entanglement with all Maupin's Tales books. I probably can't stand outside it and tell you how it reads as a first timer. You simply have to start at the beginning with Tales of the City and you will see what I mean.
My experience of reading is that I was meeting old friends and discovering secrets that have been kept buried for years.
Anna Madrigal - the landlady of all Tales Fan's souls
Maupin is writing of beloved characters that he has been writing about for many many years, you cannot help but see how invested he is in his main characters and they are very real.
I have read all Armistead Maupin's Tales books set in the 70s/80s which tell the story of the lives and loves of friends living in San Francisco. I was so pleased when he began writing books set in the present. I believe "The Last Days.." is the last of the series. I will truly miss these people, they have become old friends!
"Catch up with old friends"
Loved catching up with old and new friends from Barbary Lane! Kate Mulgrew was perfect
"Amazing book, as usual."
Great final book in this story. Had me in tears many times. It's a shame it wasn't read by Armistead himself. I would have greatly enjoyed that.
Yes I would definitely try another book by Armistead Maupin. His 'Tales of the City' series are some of my all time favourite books. Sadly Maupin's fantastic cast of characters have been hugely let down by the narration of Kate Mulgrew. Her voice as Anna Madrigal is fine but she struggles to voice any other character.
Sadly I didn't find out as I gave up due to the appalling, grating narration.
Why was Kate Mulgrew used ? Maupin himself, Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon...all would have made great narrators for this book.
I did not get very far due to the appalling narration. I feel very frustrated as now I will never know what happens in the final installment of one of my favourite series of books. For those of you who have never read a 'Tales of the City' book do start at the beginning- the narrators for the rest of the series are excellent.
Maybe this is cheating but I have given this book 5 stars for the story as all Maupin's previous books in this series have been fantastic. It is just a shame that the narrator didn't do his words justice.
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