The fifth novel in the "Tales of the city" sequence, which chronicles high, low and louche life in San Francisco and looks at the perplexing consequences of the AIDS epidemic. Maupin aims to portray the trials of modern love and lust and demystify the gay way of life, with sensitivity and humour. He lives in San Francisco and his novels were originally serialized in the "San Francisco Chronicle" and the "San Francisco Examiner". The four previous books in this sequence are available as Corgi paperback originals.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Volume five of Maupin's affectionate gay sitcom (Tales of the City, More Tales, etc.) sends the by-now-familiar San Francisco crew up to the Russian River for some country R&R. AIDS casts the one dark shadow - this time straights are hit - but otherwise this spoof on California mores and trends remains a skillfully light, if unsurprising, page-turner. The guest star is the very large model Wren Douglas, America's favorite 200-pound sex object, who arrives in S.F. on a book tour to appear on Mary Ann's (a series regular) TV talk show. Suffering tour burnout, Wren sneaks up to the woods as a paid concubine for 71-year-old "aluminum honeycomb" magnate Booter Manigault, who is at an exclusive camp for some Republican male bonding, Unknown to Booter, however, his lesbian daughter-in-law is downriver with her lover and children (Maupin does overwork his lesbian separatists as goose-stompers material). Also in the neighborhood is series mainstay Michael, or "Mouse," who comforts straight friend Brian (Mary Ann's househusband), who fears he may have AIDS from a now-dying mistress. Maupin stocks the book with reassuring what-are-friends-for conversations. The story peaks with Michael falling in love with an out-of-town visitor while on an amusing manhunt for Booter, who's held prisoner by a Wimminwood extremist, a Stayfree maxipad taped over his mouth. Trends move faster than writers and publishers, of course, so some targets are dated here, but, all in all, there are more hits than misses. Maupin fans, in any case, should be happily satisfied. (Kirkus Reviews)