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Babycakes (Tales of the City #4)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,978 Ratings  ·  205 Reviews
Début des années quatre-vingt, Reagan dirige l'Amérique, hésitant entre conservatisme pur et dur et saut en avant technologique. Les Yuppies dopés sont des acharnés du travail, les gays californiens sont à la pointe du combat pour l'évolution des mœurs et des mentalités et le sida commence à frapper les corps et les esprits. C'est ce moment que choisit la reine Elisabeth I ...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published February 18th 2001 by 10/18 (first published March 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Charles Eliot
Jul 13, 2014 Charles Eliot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Babycakes is a far better book than its three predecessors in the Tales of the City series.

Between the previous book and Babycakes, Armistead Maupin realised that he couldn't keep writing about gay life in San Francisco as if AIDS hadn't happened. Babycakes begins shortly after the death from AIDS of one of its main characters. The book aches with the pain of that loss. It's a book about the transition from youth and innocence and adventure to adulthood, with the attendant gravity, ambiguity, s
David B
Apr 06, 2015 David B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin seems unable to make a plot work without relying on the most outrageous coincidences and chance meetings. So why do I enjoy this series so much? I think it’s because he so successfully communicates his love for his characters to me, so that I am actually looking forward to each unexpected encounter and unforeseeable event that turns everyone’s lives upside down. Maybe Maupin’s style of story construction is a natural outgrowth of developing as a writer in the gay subculture of S ...more
Armin Hennig
Vierter und bislang romanhaftester Teil der Saga, bei dem erstmals alle Handlungsstränge miteinander korrespondieren. Kernkonflikt ist der unerfüllbare Babywunsch Brians, der als einziger nichts von seiner Sterilität weiß und unter einer fiesen Kombination von Midlife-Crisis und Minderwertigkeitskomplexen leidet. Denn der einstige Bürgerrechtsanwalt ist immer noch Kellner und hat auch noch einen fiesen Kollegen an der Backe, während Mary-Anns Karriere immer steiler nach oben geht.
Gleich zu Begin
Dec 05, 2015 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, Alan Cumming was the narrator of the audio and he did a fantastic job. I loved his different voices. I also liked the writing. The descriptive quality was right up my alley. I enjoyed that part. And the humor was great, but I have to say I don't think I "got" it sometimes.

This was a light and fun read. It was hard to take the story lines seriously because they were so exaggerated. That was probably part of its charm. I think I would have liked a more serious thread included somewhere abo
Oct 30, 2014 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now we see where the genius of Will and Grace and Sex and the City is derived from: This incredible series does not disappoint, it's very much incapable of failing us, and I am happy to report that #4 is better still than 3. SO... This one is the best in the series THUS FAR! And speak of historic!: it's the first novel ever to make a mention of AIDS... but before that gets to be a complete black cloud it provides a background that can only be improved with color and comedy, all of which Mr. Maup ...more
Apr 13, 2016 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series keeps powering on. This one, I would say, is the most complete. By that I mean, it reads like a full concept in a way that the other ones didn't. The previous three books read more like a series of events in these really interesting people's lives. There were arcs, but they seemed incidental to just hanging with these people. Babycakes definitely feels more fully conceptualized. It starts with Queen Elizabeth landing at SFO on a raining day three months before Easter, and ends with t ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot lines can be preposterous, but that's part of the charm of this series and the characters are fascinating. In the audiobook, Alan Cumming voiced all the American women a little screechy and hard to differentiate, but he did a marvelous job with the British Isles inhabitants. I am eating these up like popcorn.
Feb 05, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much improved from the previous one, even with Mary Ann turning severely irritating. Mouse breaks my heart - his storyline was especially well done.
David Schwan
There are fewer characters in this book than the previous ones, and the storyline has expanded to across the pond. Some interesting developments here but also what seems to be some big dangling issues which hopefully are dealt with in the next book.
Jul 24, 2014 Jules rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best one since the first in the series imo. Maupin still has this annoying habit of reshuffling the deck inbetween books and not really bothering to explain how things got that way, but I'm glad he seems to be mostly done with the outlandish mystery stuff that the first three were structured around. The AIDs crisis is in full swing and grief is what drives the characters. Michael is hit the hardest as he has to reevaluate how he lives his life without the casual sex that so defines it. Meanw ...more
This book broke my heart in the opening chapters. The fourth book in the Tales of the City series, I've followed the ups and downs of Mary Ann's mysteries, Mrs. Madrigal's relationship with her daughter, Jon and Michael's on-again-off-again romance. I especially liked that one of the central issues in Michael and Jon's relationship, apart from the obvious out-and-proud thing, was class, Jon being this buttoned-down professional and Michael being this let-it-all-hang-out, rollerskating gardener. ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, to my mind, the best book in the "Tales of the City" series thus far. Armistead Maupin has become a much more assured writer, and the narrative is more compelling, well structured, and moving--a novel about loss and longing. HIV has made its first appearance, and Mary Ann Singleton and her husband Brian are trying desperately to have a baby, so there is an air of melancholy that pervades the story and makes it richer and less trivial. Michael, or "Mouse," has lost his lover to AIDS, and ...more
Richard Moss
Mar 04, 2016 Richard Moss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Part four of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series splits the action between San Francisco and London as we hit the mid-80s.

There are the usual credulity-stretching plot twists and coincidences - but they are as entertaining as ever.

What really resonates though are the characters we have come to love and cherish from the previous novels. They are older, but not necessarily wiser.

This is set at the beginning of the AIDS scare - and one character has succumbed. That happens offstage though
Mar 08, 2015 Deena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Blah blah homonormativity
Dec 31, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-french
I've only read the second book and this one, so I probably have some lack of understanding, but I have to admit, I liked the 2nd one better. What I liked about it was its freshness and humor. In this one, the background is darker, Mouse (and I can understand why of course) is not as spicy as he used to be, everyone seems more depressed and the plot was less interesting.
Paul Young
Apr 11, 2015 Paul Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes the plots are ridiculous, and the coincidental meetings between the few characters involved preposterous, but this can be forgotten instantly for the sheer beauty of the writing. The characterisation, and relationships between the characters, is just beautiful, and the way Armistead Maupin describes the minutest facial expression or tiniest body language trait, means that sometimes dialogue between the characters isn't required, which to me is so clever, and so lifelike. A true literary craf ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Bonnieb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Third in Maupin’s series portraying the people and city of San Francisco in late 70s and 80s, a time of hippies, discovery and naming of HIV, fear, prejudice, extremes in behavior, dress, politics. Maupin is gifted in painting the scenery of the city and the times, while his characters are interesting and complex. Reading Maupin and following his characters is like having a lens directly back on San Francisco (and America) of the time. Interestingly, while his character development is excellent, ...more
Alasdair Ekpenyong
This was the first novel to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, so kudos for that. It doesn't play a significant role in the plot, but yes it's definitely there. Babycakes is the fourth or fifth novel in Maupin's Tales of the City series, which reads like a TV sitcom in print. Don't try to read this book without starting from the beginning with Tales of the City. There's so much character development and so many references to the really need that context to be able to understand Babycakes. Michael ...more
Verity W
Apr 09, 2014 Verity W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whilst this book is sadder than some of the others in the series, it is still a really good read. The sadness comes from the fact that time has moved on - and the AIDs epidemic has hit the US, with consequences for some of our favourite characters. The book is still surreal and outrageous, but it is harder hitting I think because of this. I liked the journey that Michael goes on, I liked the chapters the bookend the whole thing (without giving too much away!) and it's just generally another fabu ...more
Tex Reader
Nov 17, 2015 Tex Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtq, romance-life
4.5 of 5 stars – Best One Yet in the Series.

This series (at the time being just the first 6 books) was recommended to me when I first came out. By then it had rightfully become for Armistead Maupin a classic in gay literature. I’m glad to say that it became a favorite series of mine as well; and this fourth book was the best so far and continued to build the story.

This fourth one in particular interested me because it was the earliest to include a storyline involving AIDS. It was moving and well
Anne Claire
Jan 02, 2015 Anne Claire rated it liked it
Anniversaire 26 ans par Laurent

Dbut des annes quatre-vingt, Reagan dirige l'Amrique, hsitant entre conservatisme pur et dur et saut en avant technologique. Les Yuppies dops sont des acharns du travail, les gays californiens sont la pointe du combat pour l'volution des murs et des mentalits et le sida commence frapper les corps et les esprits. C'est ce moment que choisit la reine Elisabeth II pour effectuer sa premire visite San Francisco. Un symbole elle seule, la reine d'Angleterre ! Reprse
Babycakes takes place two years after Further Tales of the City and of the four books I’ve read in the series this is my least favorite. I understand characters have to grow and evolve, but sometimes you just don’t want them to.

In comparison to the other novels in this series, the novel seems angst ridden and is darker than the previous novels. I’m not sure if this is a direct response to Maupin’s mindset at the time or the general feeling of gloom and doom of San Francisco and the LGBT communit
Sep 01, 2012 Pete rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another triumph by Maupin. I don't know whether his books were still being serialised at this point but the familiar characters are still as interesting as the first novel and the stories just get wilder, madder, thoroughly enjoyable yet still believable and aspirational. I really enjoy escaping into this world!

Out of the 4 novels so far this is my least favourite yet I've still awarded five stars! It is only my least favourite because a large part of it is set away from San Francisco and 28 Bar
Lori S.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicole Gervasio
I am so sorry to have to say everything that I am about to confess in this review. I've loved Maupin until this installment, and I'm not going to stop reading the Tales of the City series. But, this one did bring me close to the point of no return.

What's wrong with it? I'm being forgiving, because I think it's inevitable in any series that an author just loses some steam-- especially once that series has been turned into a very short-lived TV version and oh, right, something as horrific as the A
Joanne hale
Sep 16, 2012 Joanne hale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a beautiful book.

i had actually read this book many years ago, back in the early 90s, i was in middle school when i had picked up this book and a few of his other books. over time they faded in the back ground, i barely understood what i was reading (i was only 13years old!).

i have actually come to realize, rereading this book many years later, that i took a lot of inspiration unintentionally from Armistead Maupin.

He is a wonderful writer, characters are completely believable as horrible or as
Ceri Blossom
Apr 06, 2013 Ceri Blossom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Funnily enough, I'd made it through the Tales... series just as far as midway through this one when my sister's first baby made his long awaited debut appearance in the world. I was reading it on my way to visit the new arrival, and I was reading it on the (long journey) back. Given that the past six months has seen 5 babies born among my nearest and dearest, with another four due to show up in the next couple of months, and subsequently a lot of thoughts about parenthood and fertility and The F ...more
Apr 10, 2008 Janice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
the thing i like very most about the tales of the city novels is the way in which they are capsules of san francisco history, snapshots based on real places and real people, with a healthy dose of absurdity thrown in. they are lightly-sleazy real-time soap operas of a city i happen to like quite a bit, of a time i feel nostalgic for, despite barely being alive on the other side of the continent.
this installment brings us screeching into the 80's, with a direct stop at the AIDS epidemic. it h
May 29, 2013 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2010 I read the first three books in this series almost back to back, and enjoyed each entry more than the previous one, and I'm pleased to say I liked BABYCAKES just as much. The cast of characters is not quite as large now (if my memory is serving me correctly), with Mary Ann and Michael both featured prominently. Mary Ann is focused on her career, while her husband Brian desperately wants a baby. He thinks Mary Ann doesn't want one, but her reasons for resisting go much deeper than he real ...more
Continuing on with my 2013 re-read of the Tales of the City series... and I recalled at some point there was a drop-off in the series, and I think this may be the start. Now this is not to say, that I am still not thoroughly enjoying the Maupin's stories and characters, just that things are shifting a bit.

I think part of it is that we have moved on to the 80s and with the AIDS crisis fully in swing, it is hard to have the same carefree and breezy feel of the earlier books, particularly with the
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Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 19
More about Armistead Maupin...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the City (9 books)
  • Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #1)
  • More Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #2)
  • Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #3)
  • Significant Others
  • Sure of You (Tales of the City, #6)
  • Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City, #7)
  • Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City, #8)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City, #9)

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“There, as usual, she found her husband asleep in the flickering light of MTV. She knelt by the sofa and laid her hand gently on his chest. “Hey,” she whispered. “Who’s it gonna be? Me or Pat Benatar?” He stirred, rubbing his eyes with the knuckles of his forefinger. “Well?” she prodded. “I’m thinking.” 0 likes
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