Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City Series #7)

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Overview

Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, is arguably one of the most widely loved characters in contemporary fiction. Now, almost twenty years after ending his ground-breaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the fifty-five-year-old gardener tell his story in his own voice.

Having survived the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers, Michael has learned to embrace...

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Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City Series #7)

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Overview

Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, is arguably one of the most widely loved characters in contemporary fiction. Now, almost twenty years after ending his ground-breaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the fifty-five-year-old gardener tell his story in his own voice.

Having survived the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers, Michael has learned to embrace the random pleasures of life, the tender alliances that sustain him in the hardest of times. Michael Tolliver Lives follows its protagonist as he finds love with a younger man, attends to his dying fundamentalist mother in Florida, and finally reaffirms his allegiance to a wise octogenarian who was once his landlady.

Though this is a stand-alone novel--accessible to fans of Tales of the City and new readers alike--a reassuring number of familiar faces appear along the way. As usual, the author's mordant wit and ear for pitch-perfect dialogue serve every aspect of the story--from the bawdy to the bittersweet. Michael Tolliver Lives is a novel about the act of growing older joyfully and the everyday miracles that somehow make that possible.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Armistead Maupin is emphatic: "Michael Tolliver Lives is NOT a sequel to Tales [of the City] and it's certainly not Book 7 in the series." That said, readers will still affectionately embrace the return of Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, last seen in 1989. Thanks to the sustenance of HIV-fighting drug cocktails and the resourcefulness of Maupin's pen, Mouse retains all of his endearing vibrancy. Other Tales of the City regulars make cameo appearances, redoubling our sense of re-meeting old friends in a new place. Even better than a sequel.
David Leavitt
… the book is great fun to read. Maupin is a master at sustained and sustaining comic turns. Of these, my favorite is probably the story of Carlotta. Carlotta, to be precise, is the name Mike and Ben have given to the voice in which their Toyota Prius’s navigation system gives them directions: “female, elegant and a little bossy.” On a trip through the Southwest, Ben, noticing a chill in the air, tells Carlotta, “Seventy-two degrees.” She answers that “there is no fifth destination.” Realizing Carlotta must have misunderstood him, Ben asks: “If that’s the answer, what’s the question?”
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Maupin's seventh volume in his Tales of the City series arrives 18 years after his supposed final Tales novel, Sure of You. Indeed, the story picks up nearly 20 years later with none of the characters still living at 28 Barbary Lane, but still a family even if they're not under the same roof. Michael is now 55, and thanks to his HIV drug cocktail, he's living with AIDS and enjoying a healthy relationship with a much younger man. The novel also celebrates his strong relationships with his "logical" family of choice (as opposed to his "biological" family) that includes 85-year-old transsexual Anna Madrigal, longtime pal Brian and Brian's sex columnist daughter. Maupin's the perfect reader; he doesn't create voices for his characters because the book is told from Michael's POV. Although more sexually explicit that the previous novels, Maupin's cheerful and reassuring delivery makes it all good fun. This is the tale of Michael's move beyond his "suspended boyhood," and this return visit will enchant Maupin's legion of fans. There's a charming 20-minute interview with Maupin on the final disk. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 26). (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Maupin revisits his beloved "Tales of the City" series in this novel focused on central character Michael Tolliver. While other names and faces from "Tales" appear, this story is about Michael, now in his mid-fifties (despite AIDS) and happy in his relationship, his house, and his job. Credit Maupin for making such a fortunate character likable and interesting, but Michael is confronting mortality and seeing the age in himself and everyone around him. His mother's illness creates an opportunity for him to return to Florida and connect with his biological family, while his San Francisco family faces challenges of its own, including new additions and worries about the frailty of Anna Madrigal, now in her eighties. Additional charm comes from Maupin's loving portrayal of San Francisco as a special oasis, despite the dot-com invasion and high housing prices. An affirmation of growing older and wiser that gives hope to those trying to appreciate what they have while staying true to themselves, this novel is a graceful coda to the series. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ3/15/07.]
—Devon Thomas

Kirkus Reviews
The central figure in Tales of the City returns two decades later and brings us up to date on most of the popular series' other characters as well. Michael is now 55 and HIV-positive, but his meds keep him healthy, along with shots of testosterone administered by 33-year-old live-in boyfriend Ben, who thinks older men are hot. They even got married at City Hall, though of course Michael's born-again mother, brother and sister-in-law down in Florida flinch every time he refers to Ben as his husband. Fortunately, he's still got the emotional support of former landlady Anna Madrigal, now 85 and in fragile health, and straight pal Brian Hawkins, sole owner of the nursery they founded together. (Back when Michael thought he was going to die, he decided he'd rather plant gardens.) Brian's ex Mary Ann, a fellow alum of 28 Barbary Lane, long ago decamped for Connecticut and a stockbroker husband, but their daughter Shawna carries on the San Francisco bohemian tradition as a cheerfully bisexual blogger who chronicles "her escapades in the pansexual wonderland." So things are good and not so very different from the old days on Barbary Lane as Maupin brings his characters into middle age with his customary blend of ready humor, frank sex scenes (that always seem kind of sweet) and unrepentant antagonism toward the red-state Americans who hate Michael and his kind. Those folks include Michael's biological family. Michael's mother, meanwhile, is dying of emphysema, and Michael, who's faced his own mortality, as well as that of lovers and friends, must now grapple with an impending death that connects him to people with whom he otherwise has nothing in common. Michael's detested father, though dead formany years, provides a startling final plot twist that enables Michael to make tentative peace with brother Irwin, and Anna's heart attack prompts Michael to declare allegiance to his true family. Thirty years later, he's still proud of the life he's made and the city that made it possible. Rueful but never regretful, warmhearted and witty: a treat for Maupin's many fans.
Miami Herald
“Maupin’s writing is as cheerfully raunchy as ever . . . ”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060761356
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/12/2007
  • Series: Tales of the City Series , #7
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Armistead  Maupin

Armistead Maupin is the author of the nine-volume Tales of the City series that includes Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn, and now The Days of Anna Madrigal. The first three books were made into three television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. Maupin’s other books include Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener. Maupin was the 2012 recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award. He lives in Santa Fe with his husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.

Biography

In 1976, a groundbreaking serial called Tales of the City first appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. This masterfully rendered portrait of the interweaving relationships of the inhabitants of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco's Russian Hill was both an instant smash and a source of controversy as it paid particular mind to the city's strong gay community. In spite of naysayers such as anti-gay crusader and orange juice hawker Anita Bryant, Tales of the City attracted a legion of devoted followers. Readers of the Chronicle were known to Xerox copies of the stories and pass them on to friends. Tales of the City themed scavenger hunts were held throughout San Francisco. A local pub even named a drink after one of the serial's protagonists, Anna Madrigal. In 1978, a collection of the stories were gathered together into an extremely popular volume. Most important of all, Tales of the City became a watershed work of gay literature. Who would have thought that its openly gay author emerged from a highly conservative family in North Carolina, did several tours in the U.S. Navy, or once worked for uber-right wing future senator Jesse Helms? Well, Armistead Maupin is nothing if not an individual as complex and refreshing as one of his characters.

While Maupin's upbringing could have primed him to lean as far right as Helms, his interests lay elsewhere. Following his stint in the Navy, in which he served during the Vietnam War, Maupin moved to California. Having settled in San Francisco, he became deeply fascinated by the complexity of its community. His Tales of the City reflects that complexity. The characters are finely detailed and diverse. At 28 Barbary Lane, eccentrics live alongside naïve Midwesterners, romantics alongside skirt-chasers. Maupin infused his stories with ample amounts of humor and humanity, as well as a stiff dose of social commentary. Through six series of Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin lead his characters and his audience from the sexually free ‘70s through the disillusioning ‘80s when conservatism became de rigeur and AIDS reared its hideous head.

Tales of the City went on to spawn a critically acclaimed and successful string of novels, including More Tales of the City, Babycakes, and Significant Others. Maupin finally put his series to rest in 1989 with Sure of You, the only Tales book that had not been serialized. Although the literary life of Tales of the City had come to an end, it picked up a new life -- and many new fans -- when it was adapted into three popular television miniseries, first for PBS and then for the Showtime cable network. Meanwhile, Armistead Maupin was branching out beyond Barbary Lane with his first non-series novel. Maybe the Moon, a biting, moving, and wholly entertaining satire of the movie industry, proved that the writer had the chops to expand his repertoire without losing his edge. The fable-like tale of Cadence Roth -- actress and Guinness Book record holder for the title of the shortest woman alive -- won applause from Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, The Boston Herald, Mademoiselle, and a score of others.

Following an 8-year hiatus, Maupin finally published his second non-series novel in 2000. The Night Listener, a riveting thriller about the relationship between a radio-show host and an ailing 13-year old writer, found Maupin exploring fascinating new avenues. Once again, the critics stood up for an ovation. Now, movie audiences will be getting the chance to do so, as well, as a big screen adaptation of The Night Listener starring Robin Williams, Toni Collette, and Rory Culkin and scripted by Maupin is currently hitting theaters.

Although Maupin has more than proved that there is life after Tales of the City, his fans still want to know if he will be revisiting the folks at Barbary Lane sometime in the future. Well, all Maupin had to say on that subject on literarybent.com is, "I never say never about anything, so it's not inconceivable that at some point in the future I may get really desperate and write a stocking stuffer called Christmas at Barbary Lane. But don't bank on it."

Good To Know

When it comes to Armistead Maupin's name, don't believe the rumors. Although it has long been speculated that his moniker is an invention of the author (after all, "Armistead Maupin" is an anagram for "is a man I dreamt up"), the writer insists that Armistead Maupin is, indeed, his given name.

In 1995, Maupin lent his voice to The Celluloid Closet, an HBO documentary about the history of the depictions of gays and lesbians in American cinema.

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    1. Hometown:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 13, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Read an Excerpt

Michael Tolliver Lives LP


By Armistead Maupin

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Armistead Maupin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061285332

Chapter One

Confederacy of Survivors

Not long ago, down on Castro Street, a stranger in a Giants parka gave me a loaded glance as we passed each other in front of Cliff's Hardware. He was close to my age, I guess, not that far past fifty—and not bad-looking either, in a beat-up, Bruce Willis-y sort of way—so I waited a moment before turning to see if he would go for a second look. He knew this old do-si-do as well as I did, and hit his mark perfectly.

"Hey," he called, "you're supposed to be dead."

I gave him an off-kilter smile. "Guess I didn't get the memo."

His face grew redder as he approached. "Sorry, I just meant . . . it's been a really long time and . . . sometimes you just assume . . . you know . . ."

I did know. Here in our beloved Gayberry you can barely turn around without gazing into the strangely familiar features of someone long believed dead. Having lost track of him in darker days, you had all but composed his obituary and scattered his ashes at sea, when he shows up in the housewares aisle at Cala Foods to tell you he's been growing roses in Petaluma for the past decade. This happens to me a lot, these odd little supermarket resurrections, so I figured it could just as easily happen to someone else.

But who the hell was he?

"You're looking good," hesaid pleasantly.

"Thanks. You too." His face had trenches like mine—the usual wasting from the meds. A fellow cigar store Indian.

"You are Mike Tolliver, right?"

"Michael. Yeah. But I can't quite—"

"Oh . . . sorry." He thrust out his hand. "Ed Lyons. We met at Joe Dimitri's after the second Gay Games."

That was no help at all, and it must have shown.

"You know," the guy offered gamely. "The big house up on Collingwood?"

Still nothing.

"The circle jerk?"

"Ah."

"We went back to my place afterward."

"On Potrero Hill!"

"You remember!"

What I remembered—all I remembered after nineteen years—was his dick. I remembered how its less-than-average length was made irrelevant by its girth. It was one of the thickest I'd ever seen, with a head that flared like a caveman's club. Remembering him was a good deal harder. Nineteen years is too long a time to remember a face.

"We had fun, " I said, hoping that a friendly leer would make up for my phallocentric memory.

"You had something to do with plants, didn't you?"

"Still do." I showed him my dirty cuticles. "I had a nursery back then, but now I garden full time."

That seemed to excite him, because he tugged on the strap of my overalls and uttered a guttural "woof." If he was angling for a nooner, I wasn't up for it. The green-collar job that had stoked his furnace had left me with some nasty twinges in my rotator cuffs, and I still had podocarps to prune in Glen Park. All I really wanted was an easy evening with Ben and the hot tub and a rare bacon cheeseburger from Burgermeister.

Somehow he seemed to pick up on that. "You married these days?"

"Yeah . . . pretty much."

"Married married or just . . . regular?"

"You mean . . . did we go down to City Hall?"

"Yeah."

I told him we did.

"Must've been amazing," he said.

"Well, it was a mob scene, but . . . you know . . . pretty cool." I wasn't especially forthcoming, but I had told the story once too often and had usually failed to convey the oddball magic of that day: all those separate dreams coming true in a gilded, high-domed palace straight out of Beauty and the Beast. You had to have witnessed that long line of middle-aged people standing in the rain, some of them with kids in tow, waiting to affirm what they'd already known for years. And the mayor himself, so young and handsome and . . . neat . . . that he actually looked like the man on top of a wedding cake.

"Well," said Ed Lyons, stranger no more, now that I'd put a name to the penis. "I'm heading down to the bagel shop. How 'bout you?"

I told him I was headed for my truck.

"Woof!" he exclaimed, aroused by the mere mention of my vehicle.

I must've rolled my eyes just a little.

"What?" he asked.

"It's not that butch a truck," I told him.

He laughed and charged off. As I watched his broad shoulders navigate the stream of pedestrians, I wondered if I would find Ed's job—whatever it might be—as sexy as he found mine. Oh, yeah, buddy, that's right, make me want it, make me buy that two-bedroom condo! That Century 21 blazer is so fucking hot!

I headed for my truck (a light-blue Tacoma, if you must know), buzzing on a sort of homegrown euphoria that sweeps over me from time to time. After thirty years in the city, it's nice to be reminded that I'm still glad to be here, still glad to belong to this sweet confederacy of survivors, where men meet in front of the hardware store and talk of love and death and circle jerks as if they're discussing the weather.

It helps that I have Ben; I know that. Some years back, when I was still single, the charm of the city was wearing thin for me. All those imperial dot-commers in their SUVs and Hummers barreling down the middle of Noe Street as if leading an assault on a Third World nation. And those freshly minted queens down at Badlands, wreathed in cigarette smoke and attitude, who seemed to believe that political activism meant a subscription to Out magazine and regular attendance at Queer as Folk night. Not to mention the traffic snarls and the fuck-you-all maître d's and the small-town queers who brought their small-town fears to the Castro and tried to bar . . .



Continues...

Excerpted from Michael Tolliver Lives LP by Armistead Maupin Copyright © 2007 by Armistead Maupin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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First Chapter

Michael Tolliver Lives

Chapter One

Confederacy of Survivors

Not long ago, down on Castro Street, a stranger in a Giants parka gave me a loaded glance as we passed each other in front of Cliff's Hardware. He was close to my age, I guess, not that far past fifty—and not bad-looking either, in a beat-up, Bruce Willis-y sort of way—so I waited a moment before turning to see if he would go for a second look. He knew this old do-si-do as well as I did, and hit his mark perfectly.

"Hey," he called, "you're supposed to be dead."

I gave him an off-kilter smile. "Guess I didn't get the memo."

His face grew redder as he approached. "Sorry, I just meant . . . it's been a really long time and . . . sometimes you just assume . . . you know . . ."

I did know. Here in our beloved Gayberry you can barely turn around without gazing into the strangely familiar features of someone long believed dead. Having lost track of him in darker days, you had all but composed his obituary and scattered his ashes at sea, when he shows up in the housewares aisle at Cala Foods to tell you he's been growing roses in Petaluma for the past decade. This happens to me a lot, these odd little supermarket resurrections, so I figured it could just as easily happen to someone else.

But who the hell was he?

"You're looking good," he said pleasantly.

"Thanks. You too." His face had trenches like mine—the usual wasting from the meds. A fellow cigar store Indian.

"You are Mike Tolliver, right?"

"Michael. Yeah. But I can't quite—"

"Oh . . .sorry." He thrust out his hand. "Ed Lyons. We met at Joe Dimitri's after the second Gay Games."

That was no help at all, and it must have shown.

"You know," the guy offered gamely. "The big house up on Collingwood?"

Still nothing.

"The circle jerk?"

"Ah."

"We went back to my place afterward."

"On Potrero Hill!"

"You remember!"

What I remembered—all I remembered after nineteen years—was his dick. I remembered how its less-than-average length was made irrelevant by its girth. It was one of the thickest I'd ever seen, with a head that flared like a caveman's club. Remembering him was a good deal harder. Nineteen years is too long a time to remember a face.

"We had fun, " I said, hoping that a friendly leer would make up for my phallocentric memory.

"You had something to do with plants, didn't you?"

"Still do." I showed him my dirty cuticles. "I had a nursery back then, but now I garden full time."

That seemed to excite him, because he tugged on the strap of my overalls and uttered a guttural "woof." If he was angling for a nooner, I wasn't up for it. The green-collar job that had stoked his furnace had left me with some nasty twinges in my rotator cuffs, and I still had podocarps to prune in Glen Park. All I really wanted was an easy evening with Ben and the hot tub and a rare bacon cheeseburger from Burgermeister.

Somehow he seemed to pick up on that. "You married these days?"

"Yeah . . . pretty much."

"Married married or just . . . regular?"

"You mean . . . did we go down to City Hall?"

"Yeah."

I told him we did.

"Must've been amazing," he said.

"Well, it was a mob scene, but . . . you know . . . pretty cool." I wasn't especially forthcoming, but I had told the story once too often and had usually failed to convey the oddball magic of that day: all those separate dreams coming true in a gilded, high-domed palace straight out of Beauty and the Beast. You had to have witnessed that long line of middle-aged people standing in the rain, some of them with kids in tow, waiting to affirm what they'd already known for years. And the mayor himself, so young and handsome and . . . neat . . . that he actually looked like the man on top of a wedding cake.

"Well," said Ed Lyons, stranger no more, now that I'd put a name to the penis. "I'm heading down to the bagel shop. How 'bout you?"

I told him I was headed for my truck.

"Woof!" he exclaimed, aroused by the mere mention of my vehicle.

I must've rolled my eyes just a little.

"What?" he asked.

"It's not that butch a truck," I told him.

He laughed and charged off. As I watched his broad shoulders navigate the stream of pedestrians, I wondered if I would find Ed's job—whatever it might be—as sexy as he found mine. Oh, yeah, buddy, that's right, make me want it, make me buy that two-bedroom condo! That Century 21 blazer is so fucking hot!

I headed for my truck (a light-blue Tacoma, if you must know), buzzing on a sort of homegrown euphoria that sweeps over me from time to time. After thirty years in the city, it's nice to be reminded that I'm still glad to be here, still glad to belong to this sweet confederacy of survivors, where men meet in front of the hardware store and talk of love and death and circle jerks as if they're discussing the weather.

It helps that I have Ben; I know that. Some years back, when I was still single, the charm of the city was wearing thin for me. All those imperial dot-commers in their SUVs and Hummers barreling down the middle of Noe Street as if leading an assault on a Third World nation. And those freshly minted queens down at Badlands, wreathed in cigarette smoke and attitude, who seemed to believe that political activism meant a subscription to Out magazine and regular attendance at Queer as Folk night. Not to mention the traffic snarls and the fuck-you-all maître d's and the small-town queers who brought their small-town fears to the Castro and tried to bar . . .

Michael Tolliver Lives. Copyright © by Armistead Maupin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Why is this book advertised as Free download, but it is $9.99?

    When I saw on my Color Nook blog this book advertised as Free download, I was excited to try it, sad to say it is incorrectly advertised on the B and N site. It is not free, oh well. Would like to read it, but not willing to spend tthis on an unknown author for me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Ties together all the characters from his previous Barbary Lane books

    I really enjoyed reading this book that brings all the other characters from his other books into it. Does include "sexual scenes" that some might not prefer to read. Michael Tolliver is much older now. The time is 2005. But overall, I enjoyed it very much.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2007

    Good to be with old friends...

    It seems like a million years since I read the Tales of the City, and honestly I didn't even remember all the characters at first. But it was such a fun read, great cast of characters and some wry political commentary. Only one complaint--not all of Florida is as described in the book. There are a lot of us liberal, bleeding heart, pro-gay marriage, democrats living here who are totally embarrassed by being a 'red state' Long live Michael Tolliver!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Excellent continuation of the series

    This is the only book told from Michael's point of view, which is a great way of continuing his story but with a different feeing. The book doesn't really move any action forward, but that's kinda the point. We're seeing Mouse at a specific point in his life, and he reminisces about the many people and events that have touched his life. It makes you remember the parts and characters of the prior book that you loved, but it does introduce you to new characters that now make perfect sense given his history. Comforting read.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    It is going back to a place you enjoy going back to.

    A nice visit with Anna, Michael, and others. Great to peek into their lives after so many years. Michael so accurately assigns the term "logical family" to something we all have experienced. To read this would be a wonderful gift to one's self.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2011

    Highly reccommend- great characters

    Great humorously written story of modern day "logical "family and biological family needs and finding personal values. Does include a same sex marriage so if you are close minded YOUR LOSE ! I'll be on the look out for more by this author,wonderful book club choice,too.

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  • Posted July 21, 2011

    Part of the Series

    This IS part of the Tales of the City series. While Maupin originally stated it was a stand-alone, he then retracted his statement sometime later and that is completely agreeable. While it isn't written in the traditional serial format, it's a fresh look into the future of a beloved character and only left me even more excited to read Mary Ann in Autumn.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    A bit usual

    As I read this book I was struck with boredom. The characters are all plastic (close-minded republicans, open-minded gays, yawn) and utterly predictable. Maupin doesn't seem to be able to break away from his fascination to Michael Tolliver - the single most boring character in Tales of the City. After 30 years Tolliver is still a one dimensional character - a gay romantic in a highly improbable relationship with a younger character. The constant barrage of opinions lifted directly out of The Advocate makes him no more interesting than, well...The Advocate. I am confident Maupin can do better work than this.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Graphic Content

    Be warned that this book has graphic sexual content.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved It

    This was my first read of Maupin's, and I was lucky enough to find it in the free Nookbook section (not really expecting it to be anything good at the time). I was very surprised and pleased when I started reading it and realized that it was a gay-themed novel (sorry "Tales of the City" fans, I was clueless!)!
    I wish that they would bring the entire series to Nook, but I'm happy enough to have gotten "Mary Ann in Autumn" so far. I highly recommend this series to anyone that's never read anything by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

    A followpup to "Tales of the City"

    I read "Tales of the City" and "More Tales of the City" a long time ago. "Michael Tolliver Lives" brings the "Tales" books and characters back that I have missed for so long!

    Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann--they are all here! Read about Michael's love life in his "senior years" and the decisions Michael has to make when his mother and Anna are ill at the same time.

    If you loved the "Tales" books, you will love this one, too!

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Back to Barbary Lane

    In my 20's, the Tales of the City collection was published. I devoured each one as they were published. The series were very instrumental to me coming out of the closet. At least to myself. 20 years later, Mr. Maupin released a sequel, where Mouse, (Michael), is now 20 years older, been through so much, as the rest of the characters on Barbary Lane. Some of the characters have passed along and others have changed, and Mouse, well he keeps surprising us. I enjoyed the reunion. But a part of me will always remember my first trip to Barbary Lane. Your memories are always better that the present. But it was great to see old friends.

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Like coming home...

    I'm not sure why it took me three years and the publication of a follow up to finally read this. The best excuse is that maybe the experience of tearing through the first six books was so perfect that I was afraid to disrupt that but finding out what happened as these people approached new stages of life... Three pages in I realized I had waited three years too long.

    The wonderful thing about this book as a much later follow up to the originals is that it comes as a bittersweet reminder that life takes people - real and fictional - to places that are expected and completely unexpected but that not matter where those places and experiences are, inside remains glimmers of their essence forever.

    I cannot wait to start "Mary Ann in Autumn."

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Michael Tolliver Lives, Book 7

    "Michael Tolliver Lives" is claimed as a stand alone novel. In my opinion, it is closure to the abrupt and unanswered questions in the ending to the 6 novels of the Tales of the City series. Michael has always said that his logical family is in San Francisco. Because of a call from his brother, he goes to visit his mother and is drawn back into his biological family. Now 55 years old, Thack is gone, Brian owns and runs the nursery however, Michael still gardens. Through Anna's match-making guidance, he meets and marries a younger man, Ben. I hate to give away any spoilers. Suffice to say, some fans will hate this novel, where I really loved it! There is a really hot sex scene involving a threesome between Michael, Ben and his mama's hairdresser!

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great!

    It had been years since I had read the original series and was so glad to have this book. The characters from the series come alive. I feel like I know them. It was like a family reunion. I got this book at a stressful time in my life and it let me escape reality and become part of a world where there are really are kind and extremely off the wall people. Armistead Maupin you have done it again.Great job!

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Maupin Recaptures the Voice That Made Him Beloved

    You don't have to be familiar with the earlier books in Maupin's Tales of the City series to be comfortable with the characters and plot of Michael Tolliver Lives. But knowing the characters' histories together (which is swiftly summarized in various points in this book, without bogging it down in too much detail) is all the more enriching. Especially for TLGB folks -- and all lovers of the phenomenon that was and is San Francisco from the 1970s through the present day -- Maupin creates a world that is almost-too-good-to-be-true. It's life the way we wish it were, not without angst and upset and disappointment and loss, but life that still makes sense, life where people are important to each other, and valued, and influential even when the relationships sometimes disappoint or disappear. Maupin is well aware, it seems to me, of our human need for importance within our own intimate circles (a need that is all the more poignant for those who feel bereft of such intimate circles). And so Maupin creates those circles in richly identifiable and enviable characters who each have their quirks and passions and personal faults, but are lovable in the way we regard our own families of blood or choice, even when they're human and trying and testing and maddening. Michael Tolliver Lives reconnects many of the old characters (older by 30-some years) from earlier books, and is in some respects an exercise in nostalgia that doesn't get maudlin, and doesn't get in the way of real, everyday life that satisfies in the here and now. I consider it a fine and rare accomplishment that Maupin affirms that gay people too can be successful survivors, living richly into advancing age, despite the lies that are told about our reputed unhappiness and tragic existence. Maupin's Tales of the City are all highly positive antidotes to that false, imposed darkness. In the true spirit of Harvey Milk, Maupin's writing gives hope to the living of 'alternative' paths, while gently underscoring the principle that 'you have to be truthful about the life you have,' as James Baldwin stated. If you're TLGB, or have friends and family who are, Maupin is the author to read for deeper entree into that world. I'd like to imagine there are more 'Tales' to come, but this book feels a lot like closure, though its title maintains a hint for the future.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting read with a few surprises. Love the Tales series

    I had not read any of Maupin's books in a while and came across this one. I enjoyed it. Easy read and you got a nice clear idea of the characters. There were some touching moments and a few twists that were great. I even got teary eyed a couple of times and smiled at others. I am going to go back and read the other books again. Some parts of the book might "shock" people but Maupin does a wonderful job of writing that makes these parts of the book fit in perfectly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    A little too whiny

    But it seemed like not only did the main character realize it, but the author didn't either. Mouse does a lot of complaining about the life he signed up for, and is actively pursuing, but there isn't any self-awareness on his part. For instance, his partner goes out to the clubs to pursue sex, and yeah, they both agreed to it, so I don't have a problem with part (so I don't want to hear it), but Mouse clearly does have a problem with it, but never says anything. I guess it's because he figures it's the only way to keep him? It just saddened me, because he always seemed to be one conversation away from making himself happier. Plus, I DID not like the ending - I thought it was cruel and pretty insensitive. All and all a disappointment.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Armistead Maupin continues his stories in the mecca of San Francisco with Michael Tolliver Lives.

    The author is noted for his series Tales of the City, which was later made into movies for television. The main character is now middle aged.
    The book makes frequent references to the past to give context for the present. I found the plot to be simple and the dialogue to be trite. It does not lead the reader to sentiment for the liberal city of San Francisco of yesteryear. The reader will be anxious to finish the book for something more stimulating. This is an easy read for a tired mind.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    More than I expected

    'Michael Tolliver Lives On: a Novel' is by far the best of 'Tales of the City' series. Not only has Michael Tolliver grown, but his creator, Mr. Maupin, has also. We see a magnificent parallel with both the character and the author. The trials and tribulations of gay life for a fifty something in the 21st century: new media sex, HIV longevity issues, marriage, monogamy are dealt with candor and a reality that has defined Mr. Maupin's creativity. The trans issue, which has been such a controversy lately with the ENDA legislation, is one of the themes dealt with in this volume (Maupin, of course, dealt with trans issues long before most people understood what the 'T' meant). For those who have not read the six-book series several times, as many of us have, Mr. Maupin very ingeniously inserts reminders, as a matter of fact. The book is a masterpiece, a pleasure to read, and I could not put it down

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