…tenderhearted and frolicsome…Maupin has built Mary Ann a solid narrative, has given her not only a story, but an entire life. Mary Ann's is a tale of long-lost friends and unrealized dreams, of fear and regret, of penance and redemptionand of the unshakable sense that this world we love, this life we live, this drama in which we all play a part, does indeed go by much too fast.
The New York Times
In the sure-to-please follow-up to Michael Tolliver Lives, the bestselling Tales of the City reboot, it's been 20 years since series anchor Mary Ann Singleton left her family and headed to New York. Maupin's San Francisco is comforting in its familiarity, and the gang is (mostly) all here, older, wiser, and settled in: Michael "Mouse" Tolliver is married to Ben; Shawna, Mary Ann's estranged daughter, is a popular sex blogger who is dating Otto, an enigmatic professional clown; and grand dame Anna Madrigal, once landlady to Michael and Mary Ann, is still kicking in her late 80s. Into this milieu returns Mary Ann, who ditched her husband and the young Shawna for a career in television. Now, nearing 60, she's back with news she can't bear to tell anyone but Michael. From the haven of his tiny garden cottage, Mary Ann regroups and confronts some uncomfortable chapters in her past. As ever, Maupin's edgy wit energizes the layered story lines. His keen eye for irony and human foible is balanced by an innate compassion in this examination of the life of a woman of a certain age. (Nov.)
New York Times
“Mary Ann slips right back into the warm, bantering world of [Armistead Maupin’s] earlier books. All his kale-eating, sustainable-gardening, Snuggie-joke-making characters are familiar, even if this is your first go-around with them.”
Los Angeles Times
“Maupin’s quirky yet engaging characters still speak to him.”
“Maupin cranks up the hijinks and sharpens the social commentary. . . . Fasten your seatbelts, Tales fans. It’s going to be a bumpy, but entertaining ride.”
“Mary Ann in Autumn is a return to form...The resulting book is a heart-warming and life-affirming tale that should please fans as well as those new to the series...[Maupin’s books] continually remind us that we are all connected.”
“The graying of the Tales of the City cast won’t sadden readers. This affectionate novel, with its carefully unfolding story line (and perfect ending), will work its warmth and charm.”
New York Times Book Review
“Tenderhearted and frolicsome...A tale of long-lost friends and unrealized dreams, of fear and regret, of penance and redemption—and of the unshakable sense that this world we love, this life we live, this drama in which we all play a part, does indeed go by much too fast.”
“[A] resilient and enjoyable series. . .”
The Seattle Gay News
“A must read for fans of the [Tales of the City] books and Armistead Maupin.”
The Oregonian (Portland)
“Fans of the [Tales of the Cities series] will be happy to climb back into the hilly city’s stories. Those new to the series will also find it easy to slip into the pace of easy charm and irreverent characters in these compassionate, unordinary lives.”
“Even more satisfying than Michael Tolliver Lives, [Mary Ann in Autumn] is a juicy, twisty tale that’s of the moment (Facebook plays an essential role) as it takes us back to the heady days of our beloved San Francisco fantasyland.”
San Francisco magazine
“You don’t review a new installment of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series—you rejoice in it...[These] are not fictional characters but dear friends and soul mates, as permanently a part of this town’s heart as cable cars, the Folsom Street Fair, and Maupin himself...”
“No other work of fiction featuring major gay characters has been. . .so influential, as the Tales of the City books.”
The Tucson Citizen
“This sassy, irreverent book explores the boundaries of the human experience which was the hallmark of Maupin’s earlier work. The main point is that Maupin has lost none of his magic and his characters remain an indelible part of our pop culture.”
San Francisco Magazine
"You don’t review a new installment of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City seriesyou rejoice in it...[These] are not fictional characters but dear friends and soul mates, as permanently a part of this town’s heart as cable cars, the Folsom Street Fair, and Maupin himself..."
Revisiting the characters from Maupin's (www.armisteadmaupin.com) beloved "Tales of the City" series is like reconnecting with old friends. Mary Ann Singleton and her oldest friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, are grayer in this eighth installment—following Michael Tolliver Lives (2007), also available from HarperAudio—as she returns to San Francisco after 20 years, and, faced with troubles old and new, is forced to reevaluate her life. The convergence of generations enables the novel to work in believable ways and helps to wrap up some loose ends. Created more than three decades ago, this series still resonates with humor, whether dealing with the practicalities of everyday life or the realities of aging and health-related issues. Maupin himself reads, and reads well, leaving listeners yearning for even more. Recommended as a necessary acquisition for libraries collecting the series. ["A must for fans, but new readers [, too,] will find it an accessible entry point," read the review of the Harper hc, LJ 10/1/10; a stage musical inspired by the series will premiere in San Francisco in May 2011.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
Maupin continues his popular Tales of the City saga (Michael Tolliver Lives, 2007, etc.) with the return to San Francisco of Mary Ann Singleton after 20 years in the cushy Connecticut suburbs.
She's caught her retired-CEO husband cheating via Skype, and she's been diagnosed with uterine cancer, so Mary Ann heads west to take refuge with Michael, her former housemate from 28 Barbary Lane, and his much-younger husband Ben. Lesbian buddies DeDe and D'or find Mary Ann a female oncologist, and while she's waiting for surgery, Ben gets her onto Facebook so she can reconnect with people who knew her as a local TV celebrity back in the '80s. Meanwhile, Shawna, the adopted daughter Mary Ann left with ex-husband Brian when she moved east, is looking to expand her popular Grrrl on the Loose blog into subjects beyond sex. Jake, Michael's transgendered partner in his gardening firm, doesn't have the money to complete the transition from female to male because business is lousy following the economic meltdown, though San Francisco's bohemians are hopeful following Obama's election. And Cliff, Ben's casual acquaintance from the dog park, is brooding over something Ben would rather not know about, since the elderly drunk clearly has serious personal problems. Maupin's chronicle of interconnected lives and tangled personal relations is as engaging and warmhearted as ever, but he's more careless than usual with structure. Shawna fixates on a drug-addicted, mentally ill homeless woman who proves to be linked to the Barbary Lane past via an outrageous plot twist that also connects a creepy Facebook "friend" of Mary Ann's with a pedophile she once knew—who turns up toting a gun. Maupin should have trusted his fallible, lovable characters to sustain our interest; resorting to such a luridly melodramatic device detracts from the pleasure of reacquainting ourselves with them.
Agreeable entertainment until the ridiculous denouement.