I’ve never read a book quite like Tales of the City. When I first started it, I was a bit confused and I had to check I’d downloaded the right thing. It felt like some kind of joke or satire, and definitely a joke that I wasn’t in on!
After a few chapters I just started to see that the book has an incredibly strong sense of time and place. Mary Ann Singleton has just arrived in San Francisco, fresh off the bus from Ohio. She’s the naïve, prudish newcomer who suddenly finds herself launched into the underground scene of the 1970s. We follow stories of her life and that of her friends, neighbours and colleagues, each chapter being dedicated to a different character. One of Mary Ann’s neighbours turns out to a lot more sinister than expected, and it seems like pretty much everyone is hiding a secret.
I can’t say that this especially grabbed me; I found the tone and the content quite alienating. Even though I love to read about new places and experiences, this just didn’t do anything for me. I can see how someone who read the first book when it was first published would enjoy them and stick with the series, but I think I’m a bit too late to the party on this one!