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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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 of 3 people found this review helpful
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 of 1 people found this review helpful