18 October 2009

Anna Madrigal (1920- ) landlady.

Anna Madrigal appears in Armistead Maupin's tales of San Francisco where it is revealed that she was raised in a brothel in Winnemucca, Nevada, and that she has a secret that she shares with her lover Edgar Halcyon when he is being blackmailed, although the reader is not informed of the nature of the secret.

She is also shown to be particularly concerned about one of her tenants, Mona Ramsey.

In the second volume she admits to being Mona's father.  Andrew Ramsey had grown up feeling like a girl.  He ran from home at 16, worked at various manual jobs and finally joined the army.  After the war he met a woman who proposed to him and moved with her to Minneapolis where he got a job in a bookstore.  Two years after the birth of their child, Mona, he left and never came back.

In 1964 Andy went to Denmark and came back as Anna Madrigal, taking her name from an anagram of 'a man and a girl'.  She ran a bookshop in San Francisco and then opened a boarding house.  When she saw that her daughter, Mona, enjoying a transitory moment of fame as an advertising whizz, was in San Francisco, Anna approached her and persuaded her to move in as a tenant.
  • Armistead Maupin. Tales of the City. New York, N.Y.: HarperPerennial, 1978.
  • Armistead Maupin. More Tales of the City. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.
  • Alastair Reid (dir). Tales of the City.  Scr: Richard Kramer based on the novel by Armistead Maupin, with Olympia Dukakis as Anna Madrigal, Chloe Webb as Mona Ramsey and Gender as an unnamed trans woman. UK/US Channel 4/KQED/PBS 360 mins 1993.

Of course Anna could not go to Denmark in 1964, because after the Jorgensen affair, Denmark had passed a law limiting gender surgery to Danish citizens.

The revealing of Anna’s gender past does not happen until the second novel, but is brought forward into the first television mini-series.

No comments: