The fifth novel in the beloved Tales of the City series, Armistead Maupin’s best-selling San Francisco saga, soon to return to television as a Netflix original series once again starring Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.
Tranquillity reigns in the ancient redwood forest until a women-only music festival sets up camp downriver from an all-male retreat for the ruling class. Among those entangled in the ensuing mayhem are a lovesick nurseryman, a panic-stricken philanderer, and the world’s most beautiful fat woman. Significant Others is Armistead Maupin’s cunningly observed meditation on marriage, friendship, and sexual nostalgia.
About 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.
Hometown:San Francisco, California
Date of Birth:May 13, 1944
Place of Birth:Washington, D.C.
Education:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Read an Excerpt
Taking the Plunge
Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time.
She came to the city alone for an eight-day vacation. On the fifth night, she drank three Irish coffees at the Buena Vista, realized that her Mood Ring was blue, and decided to phone her mother in Cleveland.
"Hi, Mom. It's me."
"Oh, darling. Your daddy and I were just talking about you. There was this crazy man on McMillan and Wife who was strangling all these secretaries, and I just couldn't help thinking . . ."
"I know. just crazy ol' Mom, worrying herself sick over nothing. But you never can tell about those things. Look at that poor Patty Hearst, locked up in that closet with all those awful
"Mom ... long distance."
"Oh ... yes. You must be having a grand time."
"God ... you wouldn't believe it! The people here are so friendly I feel like I've ...
"Have you been to the Top of the Mark like I told you?" "Not yet."
"Well, don't you dare miss that! You know, your daddy took me there when he got back from the South Pacific. I remember he slipped the bandleader five dollars, so we could dance to 'Moonlight Serenade,' and I spilled Tom Collins all over his beautiful white Navy . . ."
"Mom, I want you to do me a favor."
"Of course, darling. Just listen to me. Oh ... before I forget it, I ran into Mr. Lassiter yesterday at the Ridgemont Mail, and he said the office isjust falling apart with you gone. They don't get many good secretaries at Lassiter Fertilizers."
"Mom, that's sort of why I called."
"I want you to call Mr. Lassiter and tell him I won't be in on Monday morning."
"Oh ... Mary Ann, I'm not sure you should ask for an extension on your vacation."
"It's not an extension, Mom."
"Well, then why ...
"I'm not coming home, Mom."
Silence. Then, dimly in the distance, a television voice began to tell Mary Ann's father about the temporary relief of hemorrhoids. Finally, her mother spoke: "Don't be silly, darling."
"Mom ... I'm not being silly. I like it here. It feels like home already."
"Mary Ann, if there's a boy
"There's no boy.... I've thought about this for a long time."
"Don't be ridiculous! You've been there five days!"
"Mom, I know how you feel, but . . . well, it's got nothing to do with you and Daddy. I just want to start making my own life ... have my own apartment and all."
"Oh, that. Well, darling ... of course you can. As a matter of fact, your daddy and I thought those new apartments out at Ridgemont might be just perfect for you. They take lots of young people, and they've got a swimming pool and a sauna, and I could make some of those darling curtains like I made for Sonny and Vicki when they got married. You could have all the privacy you . . ."
"You aren't listening, Mom. I'm trying to tell you I'm a grown woman."
"Well, act like it, then! You can't just ... run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!"
"You've been watching too much TV."
"O.K. ... then what about The Horoscope?"
"The Horoscope. That crazy man. The killer."
"Mom ... The Zodiac."
"Same difference. And what about . . . earthquakes? I saw that movie, Mary Ann, and I nearly died when Ava Gardner . . ."
"Will you just call Mr. Lassiter for me?"
Her mother began to cry. "You won't come back. I just know it."
"Mom ... please . I will. I promise."
"But you won't be ... the same!"
"No. I hope not."
When it was over, Mary Ann left the bar and walked through Aquatic Park to the bay. She stood there for several minutes in a chill wind, staring at the beacon on Alcatraz. She made a vow not to think about her mother for a while.
Back at the Fisherman's Wharf Holiday Inn, she looked up Connie Bradshaw's phone number.
Connie was a stewardess for United. Mary Ann hadn't seen her since high school: 1968.
"Fantabulous!" squealed Connie. "How long you here for?"
"Super! Found an apartment yet?"
"No ... I ... well, I was wondering if I might be able to crash at your place, until I can
"Sure. No sweat."
"Connie ... you're single?"
The stewardess laughed. "A bear shit in the woods?"
What People are Saying About This
A consummate entertainer who has made a generation laugh...It is Maupin's Dickensian gift to be able to render love convincingly.
An enormously talented writer—witty but always sympathetic, generous in showing us the secrets of his heart...By writing about what's seemingly different Armistead Maupin always manages to capture what's so hilariously painfully true for all of us.
The color is wonderful, the line bold and flowing. It is also wise, witty, loving and caring about the foibles and frailties we all seem to have.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Maupin's delightful and fascinating characters find their way through San Francisco in the late 70s. AIDS and social awareness has crept into the lives of the inhabitants of Barbary Lane. The party is winding down.
Love every minute of this series. Funny, I started with the latest two books, then worked from the beginning (E-books weren't released in order). I am very excited to read some of Maupin's other works.
All six books in the Tales of the City series are treasures. Armistead Maupin has given everyone interested in taking the journey an incredibly realistic portrait of life in 70's and 80's San Francisco. Gay or straight, it's impossible not to become wrapped up in the character's lives and loves. And, if you love San Francisco, it's a beautiful ode to the city. I highly recommend reading all six books and then watching the DVDs of 'Tales', 'More Tales' and 'Further Tales'. GREAT casting!
Michael finds out that he is positive, but that doesn't stop him from being lonely. He meets a tour guide from a visit to Alcatraz, Thack. The two of them go away with Brian, to a cabin in the redwoods. Brian is scared that he has AIDS, and can't deal with Mary Ann's advances until the test results come back, in 10 days. Mary Ann is consumed by being an anchor woman, and is outside herself when Entertainment Tonight comes to interview her. Her interview with a famous fat model doesn't go well, at all. Wren Douglas, the fat and beautiful model, is propositioned by Frannie's new husband Booter, to stay near the Bohemian Grove, an all male camp in the redwoods. DeDe and D'or are off to Wimminwood, an all women's camp in the redwoods. This could be the thing to tear their relationship apart. How will the lives of these significant others survive in the latest installment of Armistead Maupin's timeless series?