After abandoning his much loved Tales of the City series of books back in 1990, Armistead Maupin returned to the characters in 2007 with the novel Michael Tolliver Lives. As the title implies, that book concentrated largely on Michael aka ‘Mouse’, now in his fifties, living with HIV, and doing very well thanks to the improved drugs. Michael’s sex life was also better than ever thanks to shots of testosterone and a boyfriend twenty years his junior. As well as bringing back many of the familiar faces from the early books, this novel also introduced a younger generation of characters, such as Michael’s boyfriend Ben and Shawna (Brian’s grown-up daughter).
This was followed a few years later by another novel Mary Ann in Autumn, which returned the character Mary Ann Singleton to San Francisco under the cloud of a cancer scare. Earlier in the series of books, Mary Ann had abandoned her best friend Michael (who had recently been diagnosed HIV positive), to pursue a television career on the east coast. Now suffering her own life-threatening disease, she returns to the city of her youth and to Michael. This novel also tested reader’s memories as it cleverly revived a secondary character from the very first novel (Norman Williams) who everyone assumed dead.
Olympia Dukakis (pictured) starred as Anna Madrigal in the television adaptations of the first three Tales of the City books.
Now a third novel in this rebooted series (or a ninth book if you add in the six original novels) has been announced, although it won’t be published until early 2014. It will focus on the other major character, who is perhaps the most beloved of them all, Anna Madrigal. Apart from the title, scant details were available on this new book, until earlier this week, when Armistead Maupin published a book blurb on his website. It is reproduced below:
THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL
Anna Madrigal, the transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane, is one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters. Now a fragile ninety-two and committed to the notion of “leaving like a lady,” Anna has seemingly found peace in the bosom of her logical family in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker Jake Greenleaf, who’s hard at work on a secret art project: her former tenant Brian Hawkins, now unexpectedly remarried at 67; Brian’s daughter Shawna, a single woman who wants to be pregnant, and, of course, Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, both of whom have known and loved Anna for over thirty-five years.
Some members of Anna’s family are bound for the other-worldly landscape of Burning Man, the art community in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada where 60,000 revelers will build a city (Michael calls it “a Fellini carnival on Mars”) designed to last only a week. Anna herself has another Nevada destination in mind: a lonely stretch of road outside of Winnemucca where the 16-year-old boy she used to be ran away from the whorehouse he called home. With the aid of Brian and his beat-up RV she journeys east from San Francisco into the dusty troubled heart of her Depression childhood, facing some unfinished business she has so far avoided.
Suspenseful, comic and touching, THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL unearths secrets and dreams that span 75 years.
Pictured: Armistead Maupin with Olympia Dukakis.
The publication date in Australia is 14 Feb 2014 (probably as a trade paperback, like his previous books). In the UK and the US, it will be published in hardcover on 21 January 2014.
Postscript (8 August 13) – the US cover image has just been released and here it is.
Written by Graeme Aitken