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28 Barbary Lane

(Tales of the City #1-3)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,334 ratings  ·  96 reviews

Armistead Maupin's uproarious and moving Tales of the City novels—the first three of which are collected in this omnibus volume—have earned a unique niche in American literature and are considered indelible documents of cultural change from the seventies through the first two decades of the new millennium.

“These novels are as difficult to put down as a dish of pistachio

Kindle Edition, 869 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by Harper Perennial (first published October 19th 1989)
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  1,334 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've lost track of how many times I've bought and read these books.Tales of the City stills stands as one of my all time favourite books; I read it about every other year. The first three books of this nine book series are pretty fast and furious. Not only do the books delve into the lives of the inhabitants of 28 Barbary, but all three have an undercurrent of crime that I enjoy. I highly recommend these books to queers in their 20's who want to know what it was like to be gay in the 70's and 80 ...more
Moira Clunie
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, queer
a review from the l.a. times compared the experience of reading these books with eating a bowl of pistachios - they're as hard to put down & each whets your appetite for the next. the third book kept me awake for hours until i'd finished it & some of the more intense plot points that i won't spoiler here were safely resolved.

i didn't know san francisco in the seventies, but found the writing evocative even of my more recent time there (where i bought this book at one of many amazing second-hand
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm so addicted, I can't put it down. It would have been torture to only be able to read one column a day. I plowed through the first two Tales in just a couple of days while on vacation, and now I'm working on the third volume. And I know I'm very late to join the Maupin bandwagon, but I wasn't born yet so what can I say. He has a brilliant way of capturing characters in just a few words; I can perfectly imagine each of them and all their eccentricities in my mind.

I can see how this column woul
Leah K
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
This is a hard one to rate since it contains the first three books of the Tales of the City series. I found the first book fairly slow but that picked up in the second and third book. I ended up falling in love with the characters and loved reading their progressions through the books (and years). The issues of the times really show within. I really got caught up in the stories and the 880 pages seemed to pass quickly. I found some of the scenarios and coincidences a bit much at times but it did ...more
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin's uproarious and moving Tales of the City novels—the first three of which are collected in the is omnibus edition—have earned a unique niche in American literature, not only as matchless entertainment, but as indelible documents of cultural change in the seventies and eighties.

When originally serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle, Tales of the City (1976), More Tales of the City (1977) and Futher Tales of the City (1982) afforded a mainstream audience of millions its first
Nov 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to read the Tales of the City books over and over when I lived in Ohio. They were a talisman for me of the life I wanted, the characters then about 10 years older than I. I haven't read them again since Ohio, and in the interim I did live in The City for a while so I had a sense of place this time that was missing from my earlier reads. This re-read was bittersweet on many levels but it still felt a lot like coming home. If you want an objective review, you'll have to go elsewhere. I love ...more
May 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone open to good fiction
As a required text for english my sophomore/junior year of high school, this book sparked my interest in reading for fun. With each storyline, I found myself unable to put Tales of the City down. I suggest this book to anyone who wants to get lost in a good book. Enjoy!
V. Briceland
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
My nostalgia for Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series was stoked once again by the recent revival of the adaptation on Netflix. On a reread of the first three books, however, a few flaws become apparent.

The initial entry in the series is fun and feels pleasurably voyeuristic on the hijinx of the down and out and rich and famous both . . . but Tales of the City is honestly not as well-written as later installments. Maupin relies heavily on chunks of dialogue without much exposition or inne
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Total soap opera, but in the best kind of way. Fans of the PBS miniseries or the new Netflix limited series will find the first three volumes of the whole Tales of the City saga pretty much do exactly what it says on the tin. Every plot is intertwined, there's always some kind of gasp-worthy heel turn (He's really a P.I.! Cults! Jim Jones!), everyone finds themselves in and out of some larger plot twist. Maupin is a breezy writer, making even a 1,000 page book go remarkably quickly.

At the core,
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m reading the 28 Barbary Lane anthology but I just finished the first book, Tales of the City.

So, I have a huge pile of library books that I want to read, but I saw the trailer for the new Netflix adaptation recently, cried, and immediately downloaded these books (even though we definitely have all of the paperbacks and probably most of the hardbacks but my ereader makes for easier bedtime and bus reading.)

I’ve read them over and over, but not in a really long time (possibly not since we left
Etain Ryan
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am always looking for lgbtq+* fiction and so when I heard the new Netflix series was based on a book series I immediately got a copy. I really enjoyed it. It felt like a queer soapy drama with all sorts of intrigue and scandals going on. It is pretty dated in terms of phrases and references as it was originally written in the 1970's. Needless to say there are some pretty problematic moments which were a sign of the times of when it was written but if you can get over that want a good easy read ...more
elizabeth roberts-zibbel
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
In his widely read "Tales of the City" Armistead Maupin writes of his adopted San Francisco and the eccentric and flamboyant people who captured world attention on a city long famous for it's off-beat life styles. Focusing on the interconnected lives of a group of both gay and straight boarders living at 28 Barbary Lane during the 1970's, Maupin takes his readers through a series of outrageous events that are both hilarious and thought provoking. This is a great read for people accepting of mank ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the summer I read all 9 books in this series. Having moved from the Bay Area two years ago to OR, these stories took me home--home to my friends, home to the original LGBTQ community of San Francisco, home to all the places familiar and loved. Armistad Maupin's writing was honest, humorous and filled with wonderful synchronicities. I imagined much of him in the character of Michael. Whether you are gay or straight, you will love his characters and their authenticity. ...more
I just finished "Babycakes" (4th in the series) and was so surprised as I found it very good. As far as the first 3 in the series, I liked them (#1-3 stars, #2-3 stars, #3-2 stars) but was a bit disappointed as I found the writing uneven and sometimes forced. (And I thought one revelation in #3 bordering on preposterous.) I'm glad I'm returning to Barbary Lane though as the author shows much improvement, especially in the overall storyline and pulling it all together. ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book started off slow and I felt like nothing too productive was happening, but as I continued reading the second and third books, it got better and better. I couldn't put it down. So many exciting things were happening. I loved each person's story at 28 Barbary Lane. I'm excited to read the next 3 books too. ...more
Pan Ellington
unremarkable prose, read as a research exercise. brought me back, though, as these novels were some of the first lgbtq lit i ever read. and i will say his plot points and characters are ay plus. i also appreciate the way he locates his characters within the city and history.
Melissa D
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm re-reading these books that I originally read many years ago. I fell in love with the characters then and still love them today. I plan to finish the entire Tales of the City series ... again. They are easy, light reads that still manage it hit your with an emotional punch. ...more
Stephanie Fleming
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
My favorite part of this collection was how the author took people from all walks of San Francisco life and intertwined their stories together. The dialogue was hard to follow at times, and it’s definitely a little racist and dated.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
The shear uncomplicated nothingness of this... Breaking your hear, as they discard your expectations. The netflix series is so much better. Murray Bartlett redeems whatever needs redeeming in the book. First time for me, when the series is SO MUCH BETTER than the book.
Gregory Bobo
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun soap opera!

I can't believe I read three books (811 pages) in two weeks. The first three books are fun, silly, over the top, and at times a little "yeah right!" But you get sucked into the characters and their Dynasty/ Dallas story lines.
Scott Rice
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin's Dickensian style and lovable characters draw you in and before you know it, you've breezed through a a whole other Chronicle of the residents of Barbary Lane. Makes me want to move to San Francisco! ...more
Justin Isla
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of fabulous short stories. Though I haven’t yet seen the original series, this came onto my radar after watching the recent Netflix reboot that is a continuation of these stories. Excited to read the next set!
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend to those who feel lonely because it’s really such a delightful world to slip into for a while. Also highly recommend the audiobook (jury is out on whether Frances McDormand or Armistead himself do a better read)
Patricia Kadel
Over the years I've heard many positive things about Maupin's books about life in San Francisco. I was disappointed but not surprised. It seemed dated and not in a positive way. I was planning to read all of the books in his series and now doubt that I will. ...more
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litterature
Well I am a bit confuse, is this a masterpiece or a kind of soap opera. At least, it is a well written book that put the characters in the very front of the story.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was just vol. 1, Tales of the City. I read all the Tales of the City in the '70s & loved them a lot then. This a fun read even decades later. ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pssst -- Armistead Maupin is Anita Loos's gay grandson.

Pass it on.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Back in the day I read the original books, now as a compendium I have once again enjoyed all three and have moved on to the next compendium.
I love these books.
Eduardo Prazeres
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It won't change your life but is fun and very well written ...more
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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

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)
  • Babycakes (Tales of the City, #4)
  • Significant Others (Tales of the City, #5)
  • 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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