The Days of Anna Madrigal | Armistead Maupin | Review


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was in 1992 that I first discovered the joys of ‘Tales of the City’. I can’t recall if I watched the brilliant channel 4 program first or read the books. I have a very annoying habit of watching the tv with the sound down and music on and I remember doing this with ‘Tales of the City’ whilst I was living and working in a hotel in Guernsey. Back then we were all terribly closeted, it was the year before kd lang had that wonderful cover page on Vanity Fair and the world turned.

I left Guernsey and went to Leeds and found the ‘Tales of the City’ books. We all lived in one long corridor and my friends could hear me laughing as I read them, it then became a thing of ours to watch the first season (with the sound on) whilst imbibing a lot of alcohol and always making sure we watched the whole 5 hours.

The magical thing is, that when I did finally get around to watching the show, for the one and only time the characters matched the image I had formed in my head. As the years past I read all the books, gave copies to my friends who in turn grew to love this magical world as much as I did. Then a few years ago the brilliant book shop ‘Gay’s The Word’ hosted an evening with Mr Maupin and I was lucky enough to get tickets. It was a wonderful evening as you can imagine. He read from his latest book ‘Mary Ann in Autumn’ and signed books and chatted afterwards. I took a book along for each of my chums whom I had introduced him to and asked if he minded signing so many, ‘That’s what I’m here for’ he replied. I remember I was star struck and bored him senseless with tales of my Mrs Madrigal, a 94 (now) year old chum who is so like her it’s uncanny.

So it was with great excitement that I got my review copy of the ‘Days of Anna Madrigal’.
To open those pages was to be transported back to when I read the first books; the characters, as they have for people all around the world, have become real to me, so to be able to visit them in their world again in San Francisco is always a huge joy.

armistead-maupin-olympia-dukakis-lambdaThe years have of course drifted past and Mrs Madrigal is now 92 but we also get to meet her as she was, as a boy ‘Andy’ and how it came to be that she ran away to San Francisco and to her true destiny. With all Armistead’s books it’s the dialogue that gets you. Mrs Madrigal still gets all the best lines, such as my personal favourite ‘The earth knows exactly how to hold us if we just let it’. It must be wonderful to live inside his head. He has such a great way with words – one moment poignant and the next hilarious.

I really do hope as always that this isn’t to be the last volume. It would be a fitting end but as always I am greedy for more.

Let’s hope they make the movie that is rumored of and that the excellent Olympia Dukakis gets to be Mrs Madrigal once again.

The day before I read the book I read that Laura Linney gave birth to a son and has named him after Mr Maupin, so as like his books, life has its twists and things turn out very well indeed.

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I posted this picture of Poppy when I got the book, and got a reply from none other than Mr Maupin himself!




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