Book Review: The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

Author: Armistead Maupin
TitleThe Days of Anna Madrigal
Narrator: Kate Mulgrew
Publication Info: New York : Harper Audio, 2014.

This may be the last in the series of Tales of the City stories, although we’ve heard that before.  Recent novels in the series focused on characters Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, and this volume follows the model by centering on Anna Madrigal, now 92 and increasingly fragile.  Unusual for the series, there are extensive flashback scenes to Mrs. Madrigal’s childhood as Andy Ramsey, growing up in a brothel in the Nevada desert.  Pretty much every other character is planning and eventually attending the Burning Man Festival, with it not being much of a surprise that they will all come together.  Brian’s new wife Wren offers some wry commentary on the series’ penchant for unlikely coincidence and general nuttiness, which also doubles as exposition for anyone not able to remember incidents in the early books. Having Kate Mulgrew narrate the audiobook is the most perfect casting decision since Olympia Dukakis played Anna Madrigal in the film miniseries. It’s not a perfect book – Maupin uses on of his favorite tricks, a serious Michael Tolliver illness to create tension – but if it is the final book, it is a good farewell to a cast of beloved characters.

Rating: ***1/2