Sagas of the City
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Published in: May-June 2014 issue.

The Days of Anna MadrigalThe Days of Anna Madrigal
by Armistead Maupin
Harper Collins. 276 pages, $26.99


WHEN PACKING for the annual Burning Man extravaganza, be sure to leave behind all of your MOOP, or what’s referred to as Matter Out of Place—anything that could threaten the natural ecology of a Nevada salt flat. All of the characters in Armistead Maupin’s ninth and final novel in his “Tales of the City” series have their valises filled with memories and agendas, unfinished business and regrets, hopes and fears, when they venture to the late summer event in Black Rock City, Nevada. As one of the younger characters, Shawna, a bisexual woman who travels to the lifeless alkali flats locale to be impregnated, says: “Burning Man wasn’t a link to life; it was life itself, immediate and astonishing.” In keeping with that idea, “what she adored about Burning Man [was]the way one thing could lead you to another like an undertow.”

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David Masello writes about art and culture from New York City.