Saturday, 20 December 2014

Further Tales of the City



Further Tales of the City
Further Tales of the City
Armistead Maupin
 "The residents of 28 Barbary Lane are back again in this racy, suspenseful and wildly romantic sequel to Tales of the City and More Tales of the City.
DeDe Halcyon Day and Mary Ann Singleton track down a charismatic psychopath, Michael Tolliver looks for love, landlady Anna Madrigal imprisons an anchorwoman in her basement storeroom, and Armistead Maupin is in firm control."

   This book is the third instalment of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City sequence, his series of books following the residents of 28 Barbary Lane and their interlinking lives with many of San Francisco’s upper classes.

   I’ve spoken already about the first two books in the series and my compliments about them haven’t changed.
   Maupin is a genius when it comes to creating characters and for the third time in a row he’s managed to pull of a book with a huge ensemble cast where you enjoy reading about every single member. It’s a seriously impressive feat, by now we’ve had the cast list bumped up to around the twenty-thirty mark and I’ve yet to encounter one whose chapters I’ve wanted to skip.

   This time around a little time has passed between instalments, whereas the second book picked up a few days after the events of book one, here, a few years have gone by. I really enjoyed that there was this gap, you got to see a huge change in the characters, Mary Anne is no longer with her amnesiac partner from book two and is now a couple of years into a relationship with Brian, Mouse and Jon have split up and DeeDee and D’or have fled with the twins to Guyana where they find themselves involved in the Jonestown massacre.
   It was great piecing together the gap in between and figuring out how all of these characters found themselves in the situation they currently occupy.

    We also get a host of new characters to slot into the narrative, all of which are rich additions to the series. There’s Society columnist Prue and her vagrant love interest Luke, a closeted TV preacher and perhaps most fun of all, the anonymous closeted Hollywood celebrity referred to only as ____ ______, stars of films like _____ and ______ ____. Cinephiles will be able to piece together the few pieces of info given and work out that the man in question is clearly an aging Rock Hudson.

   As for the plot, it’s ridiculous and over the top as ever and I absolutely adore it for it. There are shock returns, characters who are not what they seem, kidnappings, murders, cults and more. From the halfway point onwards, barely a chapter goes by without some kind of twist or revelation. It’s soap opera storytelling but it works perfectly with the world that Maupin has set up.
Armistead Maupin   Aside from the grandiose twists though there are also some more human moments too which stop the book from ever feeling too ridiculous. One moment in particular towards the end of the book genuinely shocked me when it happened and I found myself gasping out loud and scared to find out what happened next.

   So yes, another fantastic instalment in Maupin’s series. Yet again he proves himself to be one of the greatest creators of characters you’re ever likely to come across. I honestly can’t fault his work, the only complaint I can come up with is that now, having finished the book, I can’t sleep peacefully until I pick up book four…



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