The Days of Anna Madrigal: A Novel (Anglais) Relié – 21 janvier 2014
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Revue de presse
“Maupin spins his usual good-hearted web of intrigues involving people who have created their own communities.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“The ninth Tales of the City installment is Maupin’s farewell to his beloved cast of characters … Maupin’s flare for dialogue and fully realized contemporary characterizations is again on display … this installment is a memorable, satisfying capstone to his series.” (Publishers Weekly)
Présentation de l'éditeur
The Days of Anna Madrigal, the suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling “Tales of the City” series, 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 ninety-two, 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.
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quant à l'histoire, on voyage toujours, on découvre de nouveaux personnages et ceux que nous connaissons déjà, bien que vieillissant, nous font découvrir la suite de leurs aventures, Toujours attachants malgré leur âge mais ils restent réalistes
Today Maupin has taken us back to San Francisco in the ninth and final novel in his series - it is frosting on the cake. Anna is now 92-years-old, fragile but as plucky as ever. She’s also a realist and determined to “Leave like a lady.” Well, leave she may but she will forever be an important part of American popular literature.
In the latest story she is looked after by her much younger roommate Jake Greenleaf, the transgender gardener. Maupin reveals Anna’s early life in several chapters - back to the time when she was a boy named Andy in the 1930s. The author also brings back other characters so readers can have a last look at where they are today. There is Brian Hawkins, a former tenant who is now 67 and remarried to Wren a 50-some former plus-sized model. Shawna, Brian’s daughter, who is single, wants to have aa child and is in search of a sperm donor. As this is done it might be helpful if readers were familiar with earlier books, but whether or not it is a joyous and satisfying ride.
The Days of Ana Madrigal is an endearing story, rich with reconciliations, love, and a reminder of the unforgettable characters created by Armistead Maupin.
- Gail Cooke
Livré dans les temps et dans un parfait état
Je recommande ce livre et tous ceux de cet auteur
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Besides Mrs. Madrigal, the characters who over the years have become as real to us as our own friends and family are back again: chiefly Brian, Michael, Mary Ann and Shawna. Of course Mr. Maupin adds other characters, Lasko, Margaret, Wren (sort of) et al. Without giving away too much of the plot, Mrs. Madrigal (we finally find out where she got her name) has unfinished business; and time is not on her side. After all, she is now 92, in frail health and smokes medical marijuana rather than the delicious pot she used to grow herself. By the way, she finds it tiresome being told that she is immortal. And all these characters make their way to Nevada, some to a Burning Man event, while Mrs. Madrigal and others travel to the place where she lived until she ran away at 16, Winnemucca.
Mr. Maupin has not lost his touch. All the elements we have come to expect of his story-telling are here. The story is always a little quirky, just off-center with enough surprises to keep us guessing but always firmly set in the here and now, mirroring the times. We are then not surprised that characters are on FaceBook, they google, they use Craigslist, they navigate with a GPS, they travel in Rvs, they use You Tube. He can completely bring characters to life with telling us only a thing or two about them. I'm thinking now of Brian's mother, "the Irish housewife from Harrisburg who collected spoons from every state." Without being didactic Maupin reminds us that he is a liberal and certainly for gay rights. As Brian reminds us: "We invade a country, bomb the s*** out of it, kill hundreds of thousands of people, and we still don't have the decency to say its name right." And the novel deals head-on with gay teenagers and unsympathetic parents. Finally amid the humor that makes us smile (Shawna is afraid that another character will say "Namaste" and is relieved when he doesn't), Mr. Maupin interjects something totally profound and beautiful about the way life is: Mrs. Madrigal opines that you cannot be loved by someone who does not want to know you. Michael reminds us that "Teenagers rage against the end of childhood, old people against the end of everything. Instability was a permanent condition that adapted with the times." And even more importantly, "It occurred to Michael that this was the great perk of being loved, someone to wait for you, someone to tell you that it will get easier up ahead. Even when it might not be true." Finally as Mr. Maupin has shown his grateful readers in many languages in each of the eight previous TALES OF THE CITY series, the LGBT community makes its own family.
At one point in this novel that I did not want to end, Mrs. Madrigal takes Brian by the hand and says: "'I wish we were all back at Barbary Lane. Just for an hour or two. The whole family. Sitting in the garden and telling our stories.'" I do too.
It is hard to review this book because of the twist and turns in the plot. I do not wish to spoil anything for the fans and perhaps new fans of this series. Let me just say that I found it pleasing though in spots the prose was a bit rough. The plotline concerning Anna was the most satisfying. We learn her his-story which predates her hers-story. One may even say that one finds the source of her compassion which is felt throughout the entire series.
In a way, this book filled a private need for me since the passing of my friend. Through this book, I was allowed to see him through the character of Mouse grow old with both some insecurities and some wisdom. I had the chance to see how my friend might have lived his life. For that, I am grateful. It allowed me to hear chats that I miss so very much when I think of him. My friend Daniel, frenetic, never a loss for words, would have chortled, yes, chortled with these comments. He was just that way.
Of course, those days are long past. And for many years, we all thought we would never hear from Anna Madrigal, Mouse, Mary Ann and Brian ever again. But with Michael Tolliver Lives, then Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City) and now The Days of Anna Madrigal, we can be with our old friends again.
While I loved the continuation of the story, I found that in the last two books, Maupin shifted from story line to character line. Gone were the twists and turns of old; in fact, while there were some plot twists, they seemed disjointed and flat. And in this book in particular, we got a deep history of Anna's life, but we never seemed to get into her head. We lived her past, but didn't hear or feel what was happening with her, in the now. I felt like even though this book was about Anna, she was almost absent from the story.
This feeling translated to the other characters as well. Brian and Mary Ann took back stage. Even though Brian had a major event in his life, we never got close to what he was thinking or feeling, just what he was DOING.
I felt like Maupin was observing his characters instead of speaking for him. I'm hoping that if Maupin writes another in this series, he can get back to his storytelling at its best...when he lets us into their heads and weaves them into our hearts.
I can't tell Maupin fans to NOT read this book. I still enjoyed it. But I feel like Maupin isn't as attached to these wonderful characters as he once was.
So, what's the verdict on The Days of Anna Madrigal? I loved it. All our friends both old and new are represented. However, my favourite part of this novel was learning about Andy Ramsey as a boy. Set in Winnemucca in 1936 it is a heartfelt, emotionally engaging coming-of-age tale. The ending was especially moving, simply executed and spiritually liberating for this reader - and not at all what I thought it would be. Oh sure, some of the story felt predictable (I thought I might go all Annie Wilkes at one point) and Armistead has always been rather free with a coinkydink - but we lovers of Tales of the City are comfortable with and accepting of these traits. Besides, coinkydinks happen. Why only last week I was writing about Mr. Tumnus and researching fauns and satyrs, and presto: a faun appears in these pages. Ah, serendipity.
This last book in the Tales series left me wanting. I finished it a few days ago, and I think I have figured out what bothered me the most. While all the characters from this series were amazing, the strongest and most consistent one to me was the City itself....and it was all but missing in this last novel. To me, this largest and most vibrant "character" was disregarded. It reminds me of the SATC tv series - NYC itself was a huge "5th character". Both of these stories were so intertwined with the location where they were set, the actual name of the city did not have to be spelled out, just mentioned as "The City" in their respective titles (Tales of the City, Sex and the City). When SATC made the mistake of not only making a 2nd movie but changing the setting to Abu Dhabi, it was doomed to flop. The removed the heart of the story by moving it, and that is how I feel about The Days of Anna Madrigal. My beloved SF was cast aside, and in doing so the story lost its soul.
Interestingly, I went to a book launch for this novel, with Armistead Maupin and Andrew Sean Greer (The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells) and the two were talking quite a bit about their personal experiences at Burning Man. At one point Andy said, you know, I think most Burning Man stories are excruciatingly boring to anyone who wasn't there (or something to this effect). At that time I didn't realize much of the story took place at Burning Man, or with the planning to go to BM or the drive to BM. And Andy was right. The book did not give me any clue what it is really like, the descriptions I think are lost on anyone who has not been there, and unlike the way SF was presented in earlier books, this story did not ignite any desire whatsoever to ever go to BM. It was dull, the characters who were so well developed over the past 35+ years felt flat and boring and superficial, and it left me liking them all (yes all) a little bit less. I think these characters deserved better, and certainly the heart and soul of the previous 8 novels, "the city", deserved to be a shining beacon rather than cast aside.
For those who LOVE these characters and fell in love (or deeper in love) with San Francisco though reading the first 8 books, you might want to take a pass on this one.