28 Barbary Lane: The Tales of the City Omnibus (Books 1-3)

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"These novels are as difficult to put down as a dish of pistachios. The reader starts playing the old childhood game of 'Just one more chapter and I'll turn out the lights,' only to look up and discover it's after midnight."
— Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Armistead Maupin's uproarious and moving Tales of the City novels—the first three of which are collected in the is omnibus edition—have earned a unique niche in American literature, not only as matchless ...

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Overview

"These novels are as difficult to put down as a dish of pistachios. The reader starts playing the old childhood game of 'Just one more chapter and I'll turn out the lights,' only to look up and discover it's after midnight."
— Charles Solomon, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Armistead Maupin's uproarious and moving Tales of the City novels—the first three of which are collected in the is omnibus edition—have earned a unique niche in American literature, not only as matchless entertainment, but as indelible documents of cultural change in the seventies and eighties.

When originally serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle, Tales of the City (1978), More Tales of the City (1980) and Futher Tales of the City (1982) afforded a mainstream audience of millions its first exposure to straight and gay characters experiencing on equal terms the follies of urban life.

Among the cast of this groundbreaking saga are the lovelorn residents of 28 Barbary Lane: the bewildered but aspiring Mary Ann Singleton, the libidinous Brain 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.

Hurdling barriers both social and sexual, Maupin leads them through heartbreak and triumph, through mail-biting terrors and gleeful coincidences. The result is a glittering and addictive comedy of manners that continues to beguile new generations of readers.

With a foreword by the author.

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Editorial Reviews

Charles Solomon
These novels are as difficult to put down as a dish of pistachios. The reader starts playing the old childhood game of 'Just one more chapter and I'll turn out the lights,' only to look up and discover it's after midnight.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Peter Browne
Alarmingly addictive... combining the social awareness of '30something' with a 19-something sense of the ridiculous.
20/20
Book of Books
Hurdling barriers both social and sexual Maupin leads the lovelorn residents of 28 Barbary Lane through heartbreak and triumph, through nailbiting terrors and gleeful coincidences. The result is a glittering and addictive comedy of modern life, and an incomparable read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060164669
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1990
  • Series: Tales of the City Series
  • Edition description: 3 books in one volume
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 768

Meet the Author

Armistead  Maupin

Armistead Maupin is the author of Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener, and the bestselling Tales of the City series. A new musical based on the first two Tales novels premiered at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in the summer of 2011. Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner.

Biography

In 1976, a groundbreaking serial called Tales of the City first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. This masterfully rendered portrait of the interweaving relationships of the inhabitants of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco's Russian Hill was both an instant smash and a source of controversy as it paid particular mind to the city's strong gay community. In spite of naysayers such as anti-gay crusader and orange juice hawker Anita Bryant, Tales of the City attracted a legion of devoted followers. Readers of the Chronicle were known to Xerox copies of the stories and pass them on to friends. Tales of the City themed scavenger hunts were held throughout San Francisco. A local pub even named a drink after one of the serial's protagonists, Anna Madrigal. In 1978, a collection of the stories were gathered together into an extremely popular volume. Most important of all, Tales of the City became a watershed work of gay literature. Who would have thought that its openly gay author emerged from a highly conservative family in North Carolina, did several tours in the U.S. Navy, or once worked for uber-right wing future senator Jesse Helms? Well, Armistead Maupin is nothing if not an individual as complex and refreshing as one of his characters.

While Maupin's upbringing could have primed him to lean as far right as Helms, his interests lay elsewhere. Following his stint in the Navy, in which he served during the Vietnam War, Maupin moved to California. Having settled in San Francisco, he became deeply fascinated by the complexity of its community. His Tales of the City reflects that complexity. The characters are finely detailed and diverse. At 28 Barbary Lane, eccentrics live alongside naïve Midwesterners, romantics alongside skirt-chasers. Maupin infused his stories with ample amounts of humor and humanity, as well as a stiff dose of social commentary. Through six series of Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin lead his characters and his audience from the sexually free ‘70s through the disillusioning ‘80s when conservatism became de rigeur and AIDS reared its hideous head.

Tales of the City went on to spawn a critically acclaimed and successful string of novels, including More Tales of the City, Babycakes, and Significant Others. Maupin finally put his series to rest in 1989 with Sure of You, the only Tales book that had not been serialized. Although the literary life of Tales of the City had come to an end, it picked up a new life -- and many new fans -- when it was adapted into three popular television miniseries, first for PBS and then for the Showtime cable network. Meanwhile, Armistead Maupin was branching out beyond Barbary Lane with his first non-series novel. Maybe the Moon, a biting, moving, and wholly entertaining satire of the movie industry, proved that the writer had the chops to expand his repertoire without losing his edge. The fable-like tale of Cadence Roth -- actress and Guinness Book record holder for the title of the shortest woman alive -- won applause from Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Herald, Mademoiselle, and a score of others.

Following an 8-year hiatus, Maupin finally published his second non-series novel in 2000. The Night Listener, a riveting thriller about the relationship between a radio-show host and an ailing 13-year old writer, found Maupin exploring fascinating new avenues. Once again, the critics stood up for an ovation. Now, movie audiences will be getting the chance to do so, as well, as a big screen adaptation of The Night Listener starring Robin Williams, Toni Collette, and Rory Culkin and scripted by Maupin is currently hitting theaters.

Although Maupin has more than proved that there is life after Tales of the City, his fans still want to know if he will be revisiting the folks at Barbary Lane sometime in the future. Well, all Maupin had to say on that subject on literarybent.com is, "I never say never about anything, so it's not inconceivable that at some point in the future I may get really desperate and write a stocking stuffer called Christmas at Barbary Lane. But don't bank on it."

Good To Know

When it comes to Armistead Maupin's name, don't believe the rumors. Although it has long been speculated that his moniker is an invention of the author (after all, "Armistead Maupin" is an anagram for "is a man I dreamt up"), the writer insists that Armistead Maupin is, indeed, his given name.

In 1995, Maupin lent his voice to The Celluloid Closet, an HBO documentary about the history of the depictions of gays and lesbians in American cinema.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 13, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2001

    What a book should be!

    Like the review on the inside dust jacket said, I couldn't put it down. The first two books are the best, but the third isn't bad. The characters are fascinating, I'd love to have a Ms. Madrigal around! I highly recommend this book, you won't be sorry. I got my copy from my grandmother ( a Bay Area artist) and I can't wait to call her and discuss it. Enjoy, Babycakes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    SET THESE IN KANSAS, AND THEY COULD BE MINE!

    I love the way these stories are written. They show the humor and the heartache of the 'extended' family. I feel that my friends are my family. Maupin makes you sympathise, love, and even despise his characters. They have heart and a breath that I haven't captured in any other novels since.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    The best books I have ever read.

    I stared with the first book for a change. When i strated it I could not put it down. I love the setting , and all the characters touched my heart. I've now read every book by Armistead Maupin . I tell everyone about the books.Now all my friend have read them too. Aaron woodbride, va

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2000

    One of the best books I have ever read.

    Armistead Maupin is one of the most talented writers ever. The 'Tales of the City' series was so fun to read that I finished the entire 6 book series in 4 days! If you're a bedtime reader you'll find yourself saying 'ok, just one more chapter before I go to sleep' and eventually end up reading 6-7 chapters. I can't recommend this series anymore highly. Do yourself a favor and order it NOW!

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