Hit or Miss

I owe Dori a review of Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener — her gift to me as my Secret Sturtle. Well, I wish I could say this was an extraordinary read, but I was a bit underwhelmed. But I’m afraid that’s due to my expectations of tone and style based on his long-running series, the beloved Tales of the City. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood to read a serious, brooding mystery. Maupin faces the same obstacles every writer who finishes a reputation-defining series does when trying to write something new (the same obstacles I know J.K. Rowling will face after Harry Potter 7 has come and gone).
I read his previous post-TOTC novel, Maybe the Moon, and was disappointed as well.

In The Night Listener, Maupin plays off of his reputation and adoration as the writer of TOTC through a fictional counterpart, Gabriel Noone. But Maupin makes the fatal mistake of allowing his TOTC universe to cross over through an unexpected, brief, and bizarrely-chosen cameo. It only serves to remind the reader that the light, irrevelant tone of TOTC is missing from this novel.

But I’m glad I read it. Even a disappointing Armistead Maupin novel is better than most of what else I’ve recently read.

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I, too, found The Night Listener lacking in some respects. But did you notice the brief connection in an early chapter to a certain gay weblogger?

TheBrad | 24 Jan 2001