Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series #1)

Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series #1)

by Armistead Maupin
3.9 77

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Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series #1) by Armistead Maupin

"An extended love letter to a magical San Francisco."
New York Times Book Review

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.


Author Biography: Armistead Maupin's other novels are Maybe the Moon (1992) and The Night Listener (2000). His Tales novels first appeared as daily serials in San Francisco newspapers, starting in 1976. Tales of the City became a controversial but highly acclaimed miniseries on PBS in 1994, followed by More Tales of the City on Showtime in 1998. Maupin wrote the narration for the HBO documentary The Celluloid Closet. As a librettist he collaborated in 1999 with composer Jake Heggie on "Anna Madrigal Remembers" for mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and the classical vocal ensemble, Chanticleer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345320377
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/12/1984
Series: Tales of the City Series , #1

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.


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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Tales of the City 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
haolewrites More than 1 year ago
This novel brilliantly withstands the test of time...as amazing and as engaging as the first time I read it lo those many years ago. This ebook version, however, is riddled with a massive number of typos. It looks as if someone at Harper Collins simply scanned a past edition with OCR and did not proof-read a single page to catch when the OCR couldn't figure out the characters. Some pages can have 5 or 6 typos and nearly every other page has a typo (even the chapter headers). Maupin's classic deserves better treatment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
They're beautiful, they're sexy, the're fun, and they're taking the sexual revolution farther than ever. In the middle of the hippest city in America (San Francisco), the wild residents of 28 Barbary Lane are living the Frisco hi-life to the fullest! Here you'll find the bohemian best: men and women, lovers and strangers, gays and straights, all of them ready to help each other out of a jam with a quick laugh and some good (though not always legal) advice. Now their hands are REALLY full. The carefree chaos revoves around the funky old apartment house at 28 Barbary Lane when landlady Anna Madrigal welcomes tenants by taping homegrown joints to their doors and presides over their lives with an almost maternal affection. Armistead Maupin's first bestseller (of a six part series of novels). Others include 'More Tales of the City', 'Further tales of the city' 'Babycakes', 'Significant others', 'Sure of you', 'Only the moon' and the final chapter 'Night Listner'. I caught on to this writer, while watching the Showtime based miniseries on it. What I like about this book (and from what I've seen on his other books) is the story line and the way the book is written. The chapters are brief, basicly telling a short story. So those with A.D.D as I, can appreciate it more. Mary Anne Singleton, is the reader's point of entry. You go in with her, seeing through her eyes the crazy and at times chaotic 'world' that was San Fransisco in the 70's. Topics such as Vietnam,Whorehouses,Drugs,Religon and Sexual freedom are all covered. It may seem trashy, but in the end it was a section of a time where everyone was a bit lost. Anne Madrigal, the Slum Lord (she calls her self a Slum Lady) is indeed the best charachter i've seen yet. Motherly, yet a rebel. She has a very...um earthy garden! Can't say alot more than that in case you may want to read it. In fact, if you have time pick it up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My brother who lives in Australia sent me the comlete series of the saga. As i started to read the first book, i found that i couldn't put the book down and quickly read the rest of the books. I found that i was almost living the lives of each character in the book. I would recomend this series of books to anyone, it really is good reading. Another good book to read is Maybe The Moon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining reading, esp for anyone who may have nostalgia for the 70s and San Francisco in the 70s in particular. I was a child in the 70s so most of the pop-culture references were beyond me, but the stories were still fascinating and fun to read--probably because Mary Ann is an outsider too. Thank goodness. These were originally serialized in a newspaper, which explains why the tales never seem to get anywhere. As a book, it doesn't conclude; I guess one just has to keep reading the whole Tales of the City series...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This first book in the series of six introduces the reader to an eclectic cast of characters. What follows from there takes you on a rollercoaster ride of exciting adventures, and emotional experiences. Maupin has an incredible talent for sucking the reader into the lives of the tenants of 28 Barbary Lane and keeping them there. Everyone that I have suggested this book to has devoured the entire six novels. I strongly recommend the entire Tales of the City series to anyone who loves to get caught up in the lives of a quirky bunch of people, and then be surprised where they end up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did the author really need to damn God every few sentances? Are readers supposed to be impressed with cursing? This is a fun, lively little book, but would have been much better without the attempt to 'wow' readers with profanity. It took away from the truly delightful talent the author has for developing humor in endearing characters. Too bad.
Nathan_Dunbar More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually one for serial drama, but this story quite surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Maupin showed us the pulse of the late 70s through his vivid character development and intertwining story lines. The best part? We came to know Mary Ann, Michael, Anna and the gang not through chapters full of background, but by listening to them weave their own tales for us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was fun to read and made me laugh. It's also a bit of a mystery story which kept me reading. Ready to order more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best fiction i have read in ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story is very dated, celebrity and pop culture references fall flat if the seventies wasn't your time. Other than that, it just really didn't capture my interest, the characters were too predictable, and the story line was weak.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i'm about halfway through this book and i already don't like it. i don't even really think of it as a novel; it seems more like a play. there's constant inane dialogue between insipid and unlikable characters. and a lot of the time the characters are cut-off in mid-sentence by another character and you're left thinking, 'what were they going to say?' the storyline itself seems schizophrenic. the chapters are at most 2 pages long, so once you've gotten into 1 storyline, you're switched to another one, and then another after a possible 2 more pages. it all seems very confusing and soap-opera(ish). also, you don't get any insight into what the characters are thinking; just what they are saying. they seem very 2-dimensional: self-centered, shallow, conceited, etc. and as of yet, there's no backstory/exposition into these characters' pasts. this might have made a good mini-series, but it makes a boring book.
kimikimi More than 1 year ago
Brilliantly serialized for television (Olympia Dukakis ROCKS!), you simply have to read the entire series that follows.  While I believe Maupin could have written as brilliantly about anything he chose, he followed the prime directive... write what you know.  I have not read the eBook version and I'm sorry to hear that it has  been so badly handled compared to the original hard copy books but, nonetheless, I can't believe that the addictive, brilliant and insightful look at these characters not all of whom are LGBT (just for the prejudiced among you), will not shine through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
still an enjoyable book, and wonderful character development. wound up wondering what happens to them, so i bought the next in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Respond to james if interested
Deb-MT More than 1 year ago
Very dated- only interesting and understandable for baby-boomer hippies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not finish this book. It was very boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this years ago, and was inspired to read it again. I must say the characters are still as dear to me now as they were those many years ago. A classic which I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
goldenbear89 More than 1 year ago
Beware. Once you start reading this series, you will be hooked! I spent my vacation lying in a hammock reading this one and went on to search for additional books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DesertReaderAZ More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the Bay Area and read this book before and it takes me back to this era, with fond memories of a nicer friendlier time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was not what I expected but a good read anyway. Interesting characters and story line.