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[468] Further Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

Michael grinned. “Just a new theory of mine. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are really only two types of people in San Francisco, regardless of race, creed, color or . . . what’s the other one?”
“Sexual orientation,” said Brian.
“Thank you,” said Michael.
Mary Ann rolled her eyes. “So what are they?”
“Jeanettes,” answered Michael, “and Tonys. Jeanettes are people who think that they city’s theme song is ‘San Francisco’ as sung by Jeanette MacDonald. Tonys think it’s Tony Bennett singing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco.’ Everyone falls into one camp or another . . . in a manner of speaking.” (The Breastworks)


The third book is the series is the most grotesque and action-packed to date. Most of the drama revolve around DeDe Halcyon Day, who returns from Guyana via a boatload of gay Cuban refugees; but her problem has only just begun. In San Francisco she has to remain a ghost, for fear of publicity about her half-Chinese twins, heirs of a grocery delivery boy who has now taken over the business in Telegraph Hills. Social columnist Prue Giroux falls for a derelict living in a tool shack of Golden Gate Park.

Then Michael said: “Do you ever get tired of all this?”
“The nursery, you mean?”
“No. Being gay.”
Ned smiled. “What do you think?”
“I don’t mean being homosexual,” said Michael. “I wouldn’t change that for anything. I love men.”
“I’ve noticed.”
“I guess I’m talking about the culture,” Michael continued. “The Galleria parties. The T-shirts with the come-fuck-me slogans. The fourteen different shades of jockstraps and those goddamned mirrored sunglasses that toss your own face back at you when you walk into a bar. Phony soldiers and phony policemen and phony jocks. Hot this, hot that. I’m sick of it, Ned. There’s gotta be another way to be queer.” (Gaying Out)

To the quote above may I add Atlantis this, Atlantis that (Atlantis Events is a gay vacation company). The same words could have spewed out from my mouth. Despite the twists and turns of DeDe’s Alaska adventure, in which she must track down some psychopath who is threatening her half-Chinese twins, and in spite of Michael’s foray into the grandeur of a Beverly Hills castle of which the owner is allegedly Rock Hudson (Maupin actually left his name in a blank), the charm of Further Tales of the City lies in Michael Tolliver whose many sharp and dead-on one-liners constantly steal the show.

“She told me about the cop.” said Jon. “And the movie star. And the construction worker. You’re not having a life, Michael—you’re fucking the Village People, one at a time.” (The Way They Were)

I share the joy and the pain of Michael, whose self-deprecating humor is what primarily drives me on reading the series. I resonate with him the depression (in some gay men) is born of loneliness, boredom, and a pervasive sense of the immense triviality of life. The book really sheds light about the dilemma between desire for stability (and dependability) and libido. This volume also sees Mary Ann tying the knot and advancing in her career as a TV reporter.

384 pp. Harper Perennial 2007 edition. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]


One Response

  1. I do remember this one being a little crazy.

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