Nicole Gervasio's Reviews > Tales of the City

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
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Aug 03, 12

Read in June, 2012

It's pretty silly, shameless, and sometimes downright gaudy, but I love it. The Tales of the City series might be one of the closest texts my community has to a biblical/historical record: those characters can still be found in San Francisco, so reading about them makes me nostalgic all the time. The fact that somebody was writing all of this from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic in the city is mind-blowing; as you read the books, you get the sense that you're witnessing it happen, the way Maupin must have been.

The first book is, so far (I've just finished #3), the best, as most first books are. Everyone is green, and the mystery surrounding Mrs. Madrigal is totally scintillating. What I love best about these books, actually, is their capacity, time and again, to convert what seems to be nothing more than a campy murder/crime mystery into a political, human rights enigma. There's a place for all of it here (race, class, gender, etc.). There isn't anything much more fun than getting to laugh out loud at a quippy cast of characters while they unravel the intricate identity politics of liberation in America's most eccentric city. I can't read these books without wishing I was back home there myself.
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