Tales of the City
by Armistead Maupin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“We’re gonna be … I mean people like you and me … we’re gonna be fifty-year-old libertines in a world full of twenty-year-old Calvinists.”
Reading this book was like watching a daytime soap opera in the 1970s except that there are more insightful observations from the characters. There is a group of people, who are all interconnected (thought they don't always know it), and you move around through the events of their daily lives with a third person narrator. The narrator isn't quite omniscient, but close. This structure allows the reader to see what is happening to each person and to anticipate what might be coming because the reader knows more than the characters, but some things aren't made clear (like what is the landlady's secret?) so there is some suspense. It is a very effective way to tell these stories and kept me turning pages.
There is a lot of drug use and a lot of sex in the book which surprised me given that these stories began as a serial in the San Francisco Chronicle. Perhaps it is a very different newspaper from the ones I am used to. The characters were mostly appealing (I found Mary Ann a bit annoying) and I look forward to reading more about their lives. Luckily there are several more volumes of Tales.
This is one of my Classic's Club titles.