Nicole Gervasio's Reviews > Further Tales of the City

Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
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really liked it

This one might be the slowest of all of the books so far to get into, but once it picks up its force, it really does-- full-throttle. I was honestly really disappointed in the beginning of the book, because Maupin unexpectedly leaps ahead three years in all of our characters' lives. So, many of the story lines left hanging in the previous installment remain suspended. It's as if he got bored with moving so slowly with them... but, more likely now that I think about it, he probably just wanted license to incorporate and fictionalize a few current events that were going on at the time of the book's publication.

For example, we suddenly learn that DeDe, who purportedly has not left Guyana after her escape with D'or at the end of the second book, was present for the infamous Jonestown Massacre. Maupin weaves the story of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple in San Francisco into his kaleidoscopic gay otherworld in a way that makes a political point about cult mentalities but also demonstrates compassion for the women who were wooed by his charisma.

There is also much more violence attached to the crimes that happen in this book than in the previous ones, as if Maupin is starting to get antsy with sugarcoating gay life in San Francisco as a wonderland of society parties and underwear-dancing contests. We witness a hate crime and various kidnappings that require a lot of uncharacteristic bloodshed to work out.

However, less accessible-- maybe for today's readers, at least-- is the entire subplot surrounding a wildly famous but closeted male actor named _____ ______. Whereas I was able to figure out which female actress he was referring to in the first book when he mentioned plastic surgery (Remember, violet eyes and a tracheotomy? Elizabeth Taylor!), there really weren't enough clues in this one to have any sense of who it was. It seemed like there wasn't meant to be, which made it a kind of frustrating, skippable inside joke.

I also wasn't totally sold on DeDe's complete character transformation or Mary Ann and Brian's newfound ardor. Both seem way too abrupt, probably just because Maupin's deliberately cut corners by skipping several years, in which the reader is just told to trust that these changes happened. So, while a few years is certainly enough time for these developments to take place, it can feel really alienating for a reader without further insight into these characters. I was also a little disappointed with D'or's complete absence (though not necessarily Mona's-- I kind of find her extremely annoying sometimes), and I'm looking forward to her hinted-at return in the fourth book.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 3, 2012 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Armin _____ ______ has pictures of him with Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe, James Stewart filmed with all of them 7th year itch, Rear Window, the man, who knew too much, Vertigo. Before I read of his personal wall of fame, I wondered if Rock Hudson or Richard Chamberlain was the famous _____ ______

message 2: by Laura (new)

Laura I always assumed it was Rock Hudson.

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