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The Days of Anna Madrigal

A Novel (Tales of the City)
Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew
Series: Tales of the City, Book 9
Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (100 ratings)

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Summary

Inspiration for the Netflix limited series, Tales of the City

The eighth novel in the beloved Tales of the City series, Armistead Maupin’s best-selling San Francisco saga.

The Days of Anna Madrigal, the suspenseful, comic, and touching novel, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters - Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane - as she embarks on a road trip that will take her deep into her past. 

Now 92, and committed to the notion of “leaving like a lady,” Mrs. Madrigal has seemingly found peace with her “logical family” in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker Jake Greenleaf; her former tenant Brian Hawkins and his daughter Shawna; and Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, who have known and loved Anna for nearly four decades. 

Some members of Anna’s family are bound for the otherworldly landscape of Burning Man, the art community in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert where 60,000 revelers gather to construct a city designed to last only one week. Anna herself has another destination in mind: a lonely stretch of road outside of Winnemucca where the 16-year-old boy she once was ran away from the whorehouse he called home. 

With Brian and his beat-up RV, she journeys into the dusty troubled heart of her Depression childhood to unearth a lifetime of secrets and dreams and attend to unfinished business she has long avoided. 

©2014 Literary Bent, LLC (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Read the book

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This is a difficult book to listen to due to the narrator. With so many characters and much of the book being dialogue it is virtually impossible to differentiate between who's supposed to be talking.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

It's great to catch up with the Tales of the City characters, although this seems to lack some of the intertwining magic of some of the other books

What didn’t you like about Kate Mulgrew’s performance?

I think Kate is perfectly cast as Anna, and even the narrator. But she can't do voices, so there needed to be a couple of other actors recording other roles to help understand what's going on!

Any additional comments?

As an audiobook with various performers this would have been ideal, but with one reader who can't do accents or voices it was so monotonous that I stopped half way through and got the book

3 people found this helpful

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Awful narration

Would you try another book written by Armistead Maupin or narrated by Kate Mulgrew?

Yes I would definitely try another book by Armistead Maupin. His 'Tales of the City' series are some of my all time favourite books. Sadly Maupin's fantastic cast of characters have been hugely let down by the narration of Kate Mulgrew. Her voice as Anna Madrigal is fine but she struggles to voice any other character.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Days of Anna Madrigal?

Sadly I didn't find out as I gave up due to the appalling, grating narration.

How could the performance have been better?

Why was Kate Mulgrew used ? Maupin himself, Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon...all would have made great narrators for this book.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I did not get very far due to the appalling narration. I feel very frustrated as now I will never know what happens in the final installment of one of my favourite series of books. For those of you who have never read a 'Tales of the City' book do start at the beginning- the narrators for the rest of the series are excellent.

Any additional comments?

Maybe this is cheating but I have given this book 5 stars for the story as all Maupin's previous books in this series have been fantastic. It is just a shame that the narrator didn't do his words justice.

1 person found this helpful

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Last hoorah from my old friends from Barbary Lane

What made the experience of listening to The Days of Anna Madrigal the most enjoyable?

It is very hard not to come at this review without impressing my love and many years entanglement with all Maupin's Tales books. I probably can't stand outside it and tell you how it reads as a first timer. You simply have to start at the beginning with Tales of the City and you will see what I mean.
My experience of reading is that I was meeting old friends and discovering secrets that have been kept buried for years.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Anna Madrigal - the landlady of all Tales Fan's souls

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Maupin is writing of beloved characters that he has been writing about for many many years, you cannot help but see how invested he is in his main characters and they are very real.

Any additional comments?

I have read all Armistead Maupin's Tales books set in the 70s/80s which tell the story of the lives and loves of friends living in San Francisco. I was so pleased when he began writing books set in the present. I believe "The Last Days.." is the last of the series. I will truly miss these people, they have become old friends!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Such a delight, I didn't want it to end.

What a joy to have Kate Mulgrew narrating this wonderful story. I wish Netflix had done these stories for the revival, although it was still enjoyable.
This was a much more fitting finale and after listening to these new tales, the tv revival felt a little disappointing and even wiped out some of the characters and storylines from books 3-6.
Listen and enjoy.

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Farewell Tales

An exquisite final soirée for the Tales family..

Very thoughtful of Armistead to finally lay to rest some of the who, how and when’s of the one and only A.M.

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I want Captain Janway to read all the books

On a serious note, Mulgrew makes an outstanding performance on this recording. It’s astonishing how each book in this series is bettering on the story.

Read this, get past the first couple if it’s a struggle as this saga is has all come together beautifully.

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Abyssinia

I never wanted this to end. I literally cried it was so moving but also roared with laughter several times.
Fabulous narration

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my favourite so far.

I have loved every one of these books. I was fortunate enough to discover them only a few years ago and so could live through the 70s/80s/90s and 00's with three wonderful characters in a fairly short space of time.
How marvellous to have a book all about everybody's favourite landlady, Mrs Madrigal. To see her growing up as Andy, her relationship with Margaret and how the events of her teens helped shape who she is today was wondrous. The continued adventures of the other characters were fab too. I hope we will be hearing all about Jake and Shauna (Tales of the City: The Next Generation) for years to come. Thank you again, Armistead Maupin.

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Ruined by the Narrator

Buy and read the book! The truly awful narration of this brilliant, wonderful, last in the series book is a travesty. I have always found the Tales of the City series to be lilting, comical and heartfelt. This left me struggling to 'hear' the real voices of the characters. Armistead voices his own books so so well, I don't understand why this narrator was chosen. Just awful!
Sad to say, but avoid the audio book and absolutely DO buy the actual book.

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Catch up with old friends

Loved catching up with old and new friends from Barbary Lane! Kate Mulgrew was perfect

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  • Annabel
  • 12-03-14

The Best Book I've Downloaded So Far

Would you consider the audio edition of The Days of Anna Madrigal to be better than the print version?

This is, without doubt, the best title I have bought so far. Everything about this performance - from the story, to the pace, to the narration - is PERFECT! I bought it not knowing that it was the 9th book in a series, and it was still easily understood. I am going back now though, and reading them all. WELL-DONE!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Anna....you agree with me, I promise.

What about Kate Mulgrew’s performance did you like?

Stunning. I could not put this one away. I sincerely wish that she would narrate every title on here. There are many characters in this story, and she embodied each one, and gave them spirit that is truly memorable.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Many. But I'd hate to point them out and ruin the surprise.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 26-01-14

A Life In Review

This book, the latest in the Tales of the City series, is a trip down memory lane for its primary character -- Anna Madrigal. I have lived with these characters since I first began reading the series at the insistence of my lover in 1995. It didn't take long to fall in love with the residents of 28 Barabary Lane and all of the crazy connections and puzzle pieces as they plunked into place one at a time. Although they have all moved out and moved on, their friendship has withstood the test of time.

In this adventure, Anna Madrigal is reaching the end. She is 92 years old and is unable to walk easily by herself. Throughout the book, we learn many of the secrets of her life. She goes back to the Blue Moon Lodge in her mind and we learn how, in 1936, she left and never returned.

The familiar characters are here as well. Many of them play mere supporting roles, weaving in and out of the narrative to keep the story moving along.

Stories from the entire series are sprinkled around... It's not necessary to have read the rest of the series to appreciate them, but if you have, you will be thrown back to those events in your mind and will experience them all with a sense of nostalgia for the past. My favorite is Micheal's remembrance of dressing as Pan... It reminds me of old friends sitting around talking about the past.

I won't give any details away since that is half the fun of an Armistead Maupin novel, but suffice it to say that it was a satisfying installment in the TOtC series. Will there be others? Who knows? I hope so. Was this a final installment? If so, it is a beautifully written end to a wonderful series.

As far as Kate Mulgrew's narration goes, I can't imagine anyone (other than AM himself) being able to do a better job. She understands each of the characters and gives them a dialect here or a deeper voice there. Her narration made this a very enjoyable listen.

I recommend this title to any and all fans of the TOtC series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Todd
  • 22-02-14

Farewell Ms Madrigal

Where does The Days of Anna Madrigal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

All good things must come to an end and Armistead Maupin has done a beautiful job with this "Tales" bittersweet finale.

Would you be willing to try another one of Kate Mulgrew’s performances?

The one downside to this book was the narrator. I will be ordering the print version of this book just to read it without having to listen to her voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The last chapter (and specifically the last 5 minutes) made me a little misty-eyed.

Any additional comments?

I am anxiously awaiting the next book from Maupin.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Madison
  • 15-02-14

Narrator is a huge mistake

I'm a long time fan of Maupin and the Tales of the City family. But this narrator is a terrible blunder. Everyone comes across as vulgar and not very bright. Mrs. Madrigal, in particular, has none of her dry wit and dignity, but other characterizations are just as bad. The voice is so jarring that it's hard to really judge the quality of the story. The author is the perfect narrator of his own work, and in this possibly last book, we should have had the gift of his own voice. If you love the series, buy the book itself instead of the recording.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kristyn Rose
  • 22-07-19

I’ll miss them

Finishing this series is bittersweet. I love these characters and their intertwined, imperfect lives. They are real and flawed and heroic. This story fills in some gaps and sends our beloved friends into the void where we can imagine the rest of their lives. By the way, if you’ve seen the Netflix series, don’t expect to find those stories here.

My only issue is with the narrator. I usually love her work, but in this book, she made most of the dialogue sound snide, to the point of annoyance. I felt that detracted from the tone of the characters and gave them a negativity that I’m not convinced should have been there.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Meg
  • 05-10-19

The days of Anna Madrigal

This book is so good that I listen to it over and over. It's not just the excellent narrow whom I am a fan of, but the story itself. I can see the characters in my head interacting with one another, and the world around them. That is what a well written book should do in my opinion. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-09-19

The Days of Anna Madrigal

I found the ending very disappointing. Too many loose ends left untied. Did Michael die?

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  • Theo J.
  • 06-07-19

THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL: Truly 'A Grand Animal'!

Having watched the poignant reboot of TALES OF THE CITY on Netflix, I was startled and delighted to discover Kate Mulgrew's brilliant reading of this delightful work. Her voice----by turns playful, sultry, wistful, and bluntly intolerant of falsehood---is just right for Armistead Maupin's writing, and she portrays the marvelous Mrs. Madrigal with all the joie de vivre one could possibly want. Highly recommended!

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  • David A. Heckman
  • 07-06-19

Great Read

Omg this is a great read and final chapter in the Tales of the City series. Can’t wait for the Netflix series tomorrow night.

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  • 10 Soon!
  • 28-01-19

Excellent Interpretation

Mulgrew's style is engaging and heartfelt. Performs characters' voices spot-on. Maupin ties up the loose ends of his previous works with many of the same characters. Offers extra insight into the Tales characters. The Tales characters escapades could end here, but please don't let them!