Tales of the City

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Tales Of The City is the first book in a series of eight novels by Armistead Maupin, the first three of which have been turned into TV mini-series staring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. Follows the lives and loves of the residents of an apartment block in San Francisco.


Tropes used in Tales of the City include:
  • At the Opera Tonight
  • Axe Crazy: Mona's mother in "More Tales of the City"
    • And Luke in "Further Tales of the City", which is fitting given that he's actually Jim Jones
  • Bi the Way: Mona.
  • Cliff Hanger: in the best tradition of the Serial Novel.
  • Coming Out Story: Michael's letter to his parents coming out of the closet, which has been turned into a fairly popular song for gay mens choirs.
  • Complete Monster: Luke, aka Jim Jones is revealed to be one in "Further." Also, Norman. And a bit of a stretch, but Lexy's parents.
  • Cool Old Lady: Anna Madrigal; not strictly "old", but significantly older than most of the other protagonists, and definitely written this way.
    • her mother Mother Mucca is both old and cool
  • Depraved Bisexual: Beauchamp Day didn't kill anyone (that we know of), but he's utterly narcissistic and amoral, and the only person in the first book or miniseries (and the only male in either of them) who seems equally interested in men and women. As long as they're not his wife.
  • Executive Meddling: The publishers kept a close eye on the number of queer and straight characters to avoid Cast Full of Gay.
  • Expy: in the miniseries version of "Further," Cage Tyler is this for Rock Hudson. In the book, he was a Spell My Name with a Blank
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Arnold and Melva on the cruise to Acapulco
  • Historical Domain Character: Jim Jones
  • Historical In-Joke: "I don't even know where Jonestown is!"
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: most of the girls at the Blue Moon Lodge, especially Bobbi. Mother Mucca is a madam with a heart of gold.
  • Jerkass: Beauchamp Day, in spades
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mother Mucca is rather prickly (and swears like a sailor), but is overall a nice lady
  • Libation for the Dead
  • The Reveal: lots and lots and lots.
  • Serial Novel: originally published as a serial in the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Shout-Out: The first novel has numerous references to Alfred Hitchcock and especially Vertigo, but the miniseries takes it to a whole new level, including a pastiche score.
  • Significant Anagram: Anna Madrigal aka "A Man and a Girl
  • Straw Feminist: Mona can come across this way on occasion
  • Squick: the story Burke was investigating that gave him his amnesia? a cult of cannibals
  • Spell My Name with a Blank
  • Spoiled Sweet: Dede. By the end of the second book, Dede is able to stand above the gossip and controversy that the people in the upper class live for. She also makes the conscious decision to keep her kids, despite Beauchamp's protests.
  • Transsexualism: Anna Madrigal's real name is Andy Ramsey
  • Wham! Line: Given the amount of reveals and plot twists, there are a ton of these.