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Mary Ann in Autumn: Tales of the City 8 (Tales of the City series) [Kindle Edition]

Armistead Maupin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now, a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, a gay gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.

Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple's backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of fifty-seven, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to re-engage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her speckled past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.

Over three decades in the making, Armistead Maupin's legendary Tales of the City series rolls into a new age, still sassy, irreverent and curious, and still exploring the boundaries of the human experience with insight, compassion and mordant wit.

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Product Description


"Old friends, good times and a powerful conclusion: Maupin feels the love and shares it with his readers" (Financial Times)

"The cultural references are still fresh... The characters still compelling" (Independent on Sunday)

"The kind of writer who doesn't have readers so much as devotees... Maupin at his rapturous best" (Guardian)

"Like slipping into a warm, scented bath. Maupin's back, with an eighth instalment of his lovely Tales of the City series... Lie back and enjoy" (The Times)

"Those who loved the last book will rejoice in the fact that Maupin hasn't finished with these much-loved characters yet. More please" (Time Out)

Book Description

The brilliant new episode in the magical Tales of the City series

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 583 KB
  • Print Length: 303 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385619324
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (13 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552777064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552777063
  • ASIN: B007533UFC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,354 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit indulgent, but a good read. 16 Dec. 2010
I can't really criticise Armistead Maupin for being a little indulgent towards his literary 'children' in later life. He's protected the spirit of the earlier novels well and resisted the temptation to change our perception of well-loved characters just to surprise us. So it's easy for fans to settle in and get comfortable.

The story is quite a good one: Mary Ann returns to San Francisco after splitting up with her husband and finding out she is ill. She wants to get her treatment among her old friends. There's also a classic 'Tales' mystery lurking in the shadows, but I won't tell you what that is. I think the story works itself out rather nicely, even if it is a bit far-fetched in the end. But weren't the 'Tales' always like that? I think they were.

I do think that Armistead has tried a bit too hard to make sure we know we're in 2010, so prepare yourself for an onslaught of references to Facebook, iPhones, Apple TVs and all things high-tech. Even the language is brought bang up to date, and you may find this a little uncomfortable, or at least be distracted from the story like I was. I wasn't sure that the casual profanities that litter the text added much in a literary sense.

But these are fairly minor points. In the end, Maupin has created a good yarn that's easy to read and reminds you about characters you probably loved for many years. They may have got older, but they're definitely still the same bunch of misfits that somehow fit together. Mind you, there are some new characters, and I liked Jake the trans-man (who we first saw in 'Michael Tolliver Lives'), and Shawna's boyfriend Otto, with his monkey and his unicycle. I'd like to read more about Jake in particular.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your family... 6 Nov. 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Armistead Maupin reminds us once again that a family can be what you make it. The characters in his series, Tales of the City, have been a formed-family since they first appeared in print some thirty years ago. The Barbary Lane collective house, headed by Anna Madrigal, had been home for many years to a disparate group of people who had lived, and loved, together. Introduced first in Maupin's five "Tales" books, the characters have aged appropriately as Maupin himself has aged. AIDS and other diseases - mental as well as physical - have taken their toll on the former residents of the Lane, but Mary Ann Singleton, Brian (missing from this book), Michael and Ben, as well as DeDe and D'Or and Anna Madrigal herself, have found life - and love - have continued.

Of course, the older generations above - original residents of Barbary Lane - have been joined in recent books by Shawna and Jake, as well as other characters. The younger generation have certainly enlivened the lives of the older group, as well as becoming part of the Barbary Lane Family.

In "Mary Ann in Autumn", Mary Ann has returned to San Francisco from her home in the wealthy suburb of Darien, CT, fleeing both the demise of a bad marriage and the frightening diagnosis of uterine cancer. She had left her Barbary Lane "family" twenty years earlier, returning only for a short visit to Anna after her stroke a few years previously. Now Mary Ann has returned, seeking solace from her many friends. Maupin writes well - as usual - of the feelings of the older generation and the worries that age brings us. Ill health, death, and the uncertainty of relationships are written about in Maupin's masterful hand. This is a beautifully told story of a "family" that can't be torn apart because they have chosen to be a family. No matter the geographical distance between "family members", the long-held bonds of love hold everyone together. All families should be so lucky.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Ann Redeemed 19 Dec. 2010
Mary Ann Redeemed - for that is what this is, things have come full circle, Mary Ann is back and in trouble. Many of the characters are back and we are once again looking at our favourite family. Not an easy read in places, be prepared for a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, some of the writing is uncomfortable, but all the better for that. One for the fans, stands on its own but far better if you have read the rest, especially the first!...
A sense of lose ends being tidied up, and a continuing journey for some of the characters. I get the feeling though this could be the last of the series there is room for more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars **SPOILERS** Back to basics 8 Dec. 2010
After the unfulfilling Mary-Sue exercise that was Michael Tolliver Lives this feels so much more like a Tales Of The City book. The style and the plot are classic Maupin and I found myself devouring the book as I did with the first six.

There's a great mix of old, new and nearly new characters going through their lives. We, as readers who've grown with the series, find out favourites going through similar growing pains. There're odd ommissions and a frankly doolalley ending but I thoroughly enjoyed the books. It felt like the coda the series needed and I am really happy we got the chance to reacquaint with this world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THESE TALES SIMPLY GET BETTER WITH AGE 7 Jan. 2011
By Gail Cooke TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Although it was the 1970s when Armistead Maupin first introduced readers to the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, it grew from that newspaper serial to six bestselling novels and an award winning TV series. Thanks to the skills of Maupin the story of those people is as engaging today as it was then. What a pleasure it is to be reintroduced to Mary Ann Singleton in the insightful, compassionate MARY ANN IN AUTUMN, A Tales of the City novel.

We read Mary Ann's thoughts, "The past doesn't catch up with us.....It escapes from us. At the landing she stopped to catch her breath." Yes, catch her breath for Mary Ann is now 57-years-old. It's been some 20 years since she left her husband and daughter for New York and what she hoped would be a stellar career on television. But now luck, mostly bad, has sent her back to the place of her youth - San Francisco. There she finds refuge in the arms and cottage of her longtime friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver.

She ponders, assess her mistakes and eventually seems to be recouping some of her energy, appears to be almost her old self when she finds that she cannot escape her past.

Other characters who emerge and engage in this witty/touching story are Mary Ann's estranged daughter, Shawna, who is now a sex blogger; Michael's transgendered gardening assistant, Jake Greenleaf; the highly social DeDe Halcyon-Wilson; and the incredible Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann's former landlady who is now in her eighties and as irascible as ever.

Many thanks to Maupin for one more visit with the beloved characters only he could have created.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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