The Days Of Anna Madrigal, the ninth and final installment of Armistead Maupin’s legendary Tales Of The City series, will be published later this month. Yesterday the Guardian heaped praise upon Maupin. An excerpt:
Quentin Crisp once introduced him with the boast: “This is Mr Maupin. He invented San Francisco.” More importantly, Maupin virtually invented the mainstreaming of gay life and helped the world see that “the gay experience” was nothing lesser or greater than human experience. Maupin came to a realisation of his homosexuality relatively late. He was 30 when he came out, the same year he began writing. Taking stock of himself the way he would one of his characters, he once observed: “He had kept his heart (and his libido) under wraps for most of his life, only to discover that the thing he feared the most had actually become a source of great comfort and inspiration.” At the time he began writing, he saw gay fiction as both bleak and myopic. This was an era when Truman Capote still equated his homosexuality with his alcoholism and a climate in which Gore Vidal could claim: “There were homosexual acts, but not homosexual people.” Maupin, however, had discovered a joyful fraternity and welcoming community in the bath houses and nightclubs of the city and decided, as he put it, to “[allow] a little air into the situation by actually placing gay people in the context of the world at large”.