The Gallery: A novel idea

This week’s prompt from Tara at Sticky Fingers was A Novel Idea. Right up my street, right?

And the first thing I thought of was a street. Okay, a lane.

In 2001, me and David went to America and the trip begin in San Francisco, setting of my favourite series of books: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. I was keen to check out some of the places featured in the book and our hotel was actually right by the Marina Safeway.

But my real aim was to find the street that inspired Barbary Lane. It’s actually Macondray Lane and I can’t even remember whether we found that or not. What I do remember is finding a lane which looked like Barbary Lane did in my head. I took a photo of myself standing on the steps at the end of the lane (I can’t actually find it now, it’s in this house somewhere, but where?) and a friend said, “Did you bump your suitcase up the steps like Mary Ann?”

And then I found this house. Which said 28 Barbary Lane to me, even though it really wouldn’t work in the book (not big enough). But it’s just so gorgeous. Years later I was looking at a blog friend’s photos of San Francisco and he’d taken a picture of the exact same house, which is pretty impressive given how many gorgeous properties there are in San Francisco.

Anyway. You can see the settings used in the More Tales of the City TV miniseries here. (That 28 Barbary Lane is much bigger than mine.)

And, in case you didn’t know, Armistead Maupin has written another Tales book!!! Due out in November, it’s called Mary Ann in Autumn and I can’t wait to read it.

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7 thoughts on “The Gallery: A novel idea

  1. Yes! Two of my favourite things in one post – San Francisco, and going on the hunt for places featured in books, or even ones that could match up with those in books.

    I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any Armistead Maupin and it sounds as if his books would be right up my street, so to speak.

  2. i went to work in san francisco for a year in 1999 and my cousin bought me ‘tales of the city’ to read on the plane over there – such a fantastic book and so evocative

    oh and marina safeway was my local supermarket!

  3. Oh I LOVE the tales of the city books. (thought about doing my post on them but had no suitable pictures.) The photo of the house looks just like I imagined too. Must have been great visiting San Francisco.
    P.S. Thanks for the tip on the new book, will look out for it.

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