Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Days of Anna Madrigal, by Armistead Maupin

(hb; 2014: Book Nine in the Tales of the City series)

From the inside flap:

"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 Winnemuca where the sixteen-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."


Days, the final book in the Tales series, has all the elements that made its better entries so involving and memorable: warmth, wit, a playful sense of naughtiness, a touch of mystery and a no-bullcrap tone that makes the Tales books feel less like reading and more like revisiting - catching up with - family members who may tick you off, but are (for the most part) worth seeing again.

What especially drew me into Days was Maupin's ability to seamlessly show real world parallels - similarities and progressions - between the past and the present, within his characters' lives, as well as the world around them.

Great wrap-up to a milestone series.  Worth owning, this.

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