The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City Series #9)

The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City Series #9)

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by Armistead Maupin

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The Days of Anna Madrigal, the suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling “Tales of the City” series, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters—Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane—as she embarks on a road trip that will


The Days of Anna Madrigal, the suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling “Tales of the City” series, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters—Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane—as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her 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 60,000 revelers gather to construct a city designed to last only one week. Anna herself has another 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 childhood to unearth a lifetime of secrets and dreams and attend to unfinished business she has long avoided.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Charles Isherwood
…for those who've followed these characters through the decades, [The Days of Anna Madrigal] provides a necessary valedictory lap: a final toke, if you will, on a literary joint that has provided a light, sweet high for a long time. Mr. Maupin's adeptness at fluid dialogue, his flair for shaping characters who thread the needle between pop archetypes and singular human beings, and his great gift for intricate if occasionally preposterous plotting are all on display…
Publishers Weekly
This ninth Tales of the City installment is Maupin’s farewell to his beloved cast of characters. While his last few books have highlighted San Francisco’s Michael “Mouse” Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, the author updates fans with 28 Barbary Lane’s now-92-year-old transgendered landlady, Anna Madrigal. Anna is given the snappy, plucky dialogue she’s known for, and some chapters reveal her backstory, including her 1930s childhood, when she was a boy named Andy. Everyone is on hand here: Brian, Mary Ann’s ex and father of her daughter Shawna, makes an appearance, accompanied by his “fiftyish and luscious” new wife Wren, a former plus-sized model, along with Mouse and Mary Ann. Maupin’s flare for dialogue and fully-realized, contemporary characterization is again on display, as he keeps things hip with the use of modern vernacular (“amazeballs”, “chillax”) and by incorporating iPads (Jake’s “magic slate”), Angry Birds, missives on Twitter, and hooking up on Facebook. The story culminates in the group’s attendance at the Burning Man “Fertility 2.0” festival, as Shawna searches for a sperm donor while Brian, Wren, and Anna detour off to Winnemucca for a revelatory reunion with Anna’s past. Limned with the comfort of unconditional love yet reflective of the frailty, the uncertainty, and the beauty of aging, this installment is a memorable, satisfying capstone to his series. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Time marches on for all of us, including the beloved characters of Maupin's "Tales of the City" series (Mary Ann in Autumn; Babycakes). In what Maupin says is the last of the series, Anna Madrigal is 92 and frail; Michael is sixtysomething and feeling much older than his husband, Ben; and the youngest characters are starting to settle down. Once again, the characters revolve around Anna, but so does the plot; we see her backstory as a 16-year-old boy, growing up in a Depression-era brothel as she just begins to understand her nature. Interestingly, most of the action occurs far away from the eponymous city. Instead, the gang goes desert road-tripping: Anna on a last pilgrimage to the past, while the others go to the Burning Man festival, where the spirit of old San Francisco still lives on in collective art, community service, and freewheeling sexuality. VERDICT For fans definitely, but anyone may enjoy the peek into Burning Man culture, as well as the intergenerational twining of the characters and seeing just how far we have come in accepting ourselves. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]—Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI
Kirkus Reviews
More "Tales of the City" (Mary Ann in Autumn, 2010, etc.), with the former residents of 28 Barbary Ln. still fluttering around their erstwhile landlady. Anna Madrigal is now 93 and very frail, but she's still got the gender-crossing panache that led her away from the whorehouse her mother ran in Winnemucca, Nev., and from the unwanted appendages associated with her youth as a boy named Andy. Having had one of the earliest sex-change operations in the U.S., Anna is a legend in the transgender community, and her young caretaker, Jake, has built a special float for her to ride at this year's Burning Man festival to receive what everyone knows will probably be her final accolades. He is ultimately persuaded by others in their San Francisco circle that it's too risky, and indeed, the closing chapters' vivid depiction of the "mosh pit in the desert," as Michael Tolliver calls Burning Man, makes it seem an unlikely place for an elderly lady. But while Michael, husband Ben, bisexual celebrity Shawna (who's looking for a sperm donor) and many others are cavorting in the Nevada desert, Anna has unfinished business in not-too-far-away Winnemucca, to which she has persuaded Shawna's father (and Michael's close friend), Brian, and his new wife, Wren, to drive her in their air-conditioned RV. So it's no surprise when Anna finally ends up at Burning Man after the not-terribly-dramatic resolution to a conflict laid out in flashbacks to the year she left home at 16. Readers not up to speed on the series may have trouble sorting out all the relationships (and genders), but Maupin spins his usual good-hearted web of intrigues involving people who have created their own community to shelter them from disapproving straights. The plot is as soap-operatic as usual, though thankfully, Maupin has abandoned the lurid improbabilities that marred Mary Ann in Autumn in favor of touching reunions and reconciliations. Sweet, undemanding entertainment most suitable for longtime fans.
Booklist (starred review)
“Wonderful … Maupin’s last novel in the (Tales of the City) series is as compulsively readable and endearing as all the previous novels have been.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Tales of the City Series, #9
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Armistead Maupin is the author of the nine-volume Tales of the City series, which includes Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn, and now The Days of Anna Madrigal. Maupin's other novels include Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener. Maupin was the 2012 recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation's Pioneer Award. He lives in San Francisco with his husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.

Brief Biography

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

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The Days of Anna Madrigal 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For Anna Madrigal's near final gasp, this was very disappointing. Had loved all the other books and of course, the tv series. So guess I expected more of a punch!
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
I was soooo looking forward to this book. All the characters are there but it just didn't have the same heart as all the others. If you've read all the others you can skip this one [in my opinion]
Cat_Cavendish More than 1 year ago
The latest (ninth) and, reportedly, last in the wonderful 'Tales of The City' series, 'Days of Anna Madrigal' sees the benevolent and quirky former landlady of 28 Barbary Lane now aged 92, frail in body, but still alert in mind. The cast of surviving friends are here - Michael Tolliver, Brian Hawkins, Mary Ann Singleton - all older but still ready for an adventure. They join 60,000 revellers who build a city to last just a week in the desert. For Anna though, she has reached a point in her life when it's time to revisit her past, left behind 75 years earlier when, as a troubled and confused boy, something devastating happened which made her run away from the whorehouse run by her mother. Armistead Maupin's writing is, as always, sublime - with witty, quirky dialogue and scenes that make you laugh, or even cry. Meeting up with the characters again is like welcoming old friends back, and when I turned the final page, it was with a lump in my throat. Thoroughly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most engaging reads in awhile. I felt like I was back at 28 Barbary Lane. I hope there will be another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the last in the series-im both sad and elated to have been part of this "logical" family, thank you Amistead Maupin for all the memories• Jonathan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a satisfying end of a long running series that has touched hearts and taught people about long term disability from AIDS and gerontolgy. I have been a long term fan if this author since the series began and the miniseries was broadcast. These characters are my friends, my community, my relatives... Michael "Mouse" and his husband Ben, Anna Madrigal and her transexual friends and housemates all end up at Burning Man, an alternative long running concert. Anna and her friends return to her hometown to revist memories and "right wrongs". Since the characters are reaching the end of their lives, these issues are addressed openly as well. Maupin is one of my favorite contempary authors. His insights are always very well presented and with a great deal of humor. This is the 9th in a series originally set as six. Who knows...Anna might make centarian stages before it really ends. One can always hope
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dalexb More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Armistead's works since he began in the 80's. They have only gotten better and better! I certainly hope taht he never stops!
Frogendor More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Armistead Maupin and his books for a long time. I was first introduced to his style from a San Francisco paper. I literally couldn't wait for the next installments. I have read and re-read the whole series multiple times. He has wonderful way of writing where the characters live and feel like old friends. I know a good book when I start to slow myself as I near the end because I don't want it to be over and his works are ones I never wanted to end. I wanted to live at Barbary Lane with Mrs. Madrigal and still do.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book as it tied up loose ends with the characters as the previous two books had. But it didn't finish Anna's story, as the ending leaves open the door to speculation about what happened at Burning Man with Anna and with Michael's health. A worthy ending to a great book series.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're not familiar with the precious " in" language of the gayoirsie, these frequent references may put you off. Disappointing end to a series I totally "got" and loved. L in Boston
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book as they said it all what we really dont care for in our recreational reading thanks