TALES OF THE CITY is set in San Francisco in 1976, a city that appears to be coming to terms with the liberal freedoms introduced in the 1960's rather more easily than the rest of the USA is coming to terms with the Golden Gate city.
This is immediately apparent from the opening scene, where Mary Ann Singleton informs her parents by thelephone that her holiday is going to be more permanent and they are horrified by what the experiences of the city may do to her.
'You wont be the same' her mother pleads, but Mary Ann is adamant, 'No,I hope not' she replies before ending the call.
Within the city, the storylines revolve around the unique boarding house of the bohemian but charming and worldly Mrs Madrigal who is mysterious, tolerant but strong-minded, cultured and endearing in equal measures.
After a few days 'crashing' at the apartment of an old school friend, the feckless but likeable Connie Bradshaw, Mary Ann chances upon her new home at Mrs Madrigals in the steep and hilly Barbary Lane.
Mary Ann meets fellow tenant Mona Ramsey, a free spirit with a big heart who helps her obtain employment at the second hub that makes up the 'Tales' setting, Halcyon Communications
It is here where Maupin begins to weave the web of spectacular and brilliant co-incidences that are married up later in the story. No sooner has Mary Ann been swept off her feet into an ill-fated short affair with her elegant and sophisticated junior boss Beauchamp Day than Beauchamp's boss and father-in-law