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Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City) [Hardcover]

Armistead Maupin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Nov 2010 Tales of the City

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 57, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes.Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her speckled past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.

Among those caught in Mary Ann's orbit are her estranged daughter, Shawna, a popular sex blogger; Jake Greenleaf, Michael's transgendered gardening assistant; socialite DeDe Halcyon-Wilson; and the indefatigable Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann's former landlady at 28 Barbary Lane.

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.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (11 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385619316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385619318
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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
Format:Paperback
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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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
By Androo TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Ann Redeemed 19 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover
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
Format:Hardcover
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful 15 Nov 2010
By Simon Tavener VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
I devoured this book in a single sitting - it is a light, elegant and wry book with so many familiar characters and a great dose of wit.

There is a sadness underlying the frivolity - aging is a mixed blessing, after all. And the characters are certainly flawed. But it makes them more human.

Maupin has a great eye for character and that has always filled his books with life.

I hope we get a couple more to round off the series. It would be good to say goodbye properly
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent
Published 12 days ago by Lucy Christie
5.0 out of 5 stars Mary Ann in the Autumn
Amazing book bringing well-loved characters into the 21st century in a realistic and stunning way. Good to have them back.
Published 22 days ago by Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Not as addictive as the tales of the city but very enjoyable read
Published 26 days ago by darcyssmum
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fab
Published 26 days ago by neil reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars I bloody love these books!
Yet again a wonderfully written novel. Pure escapism but intellectually written at the same time. I love San Francisco and reading about it makes it come alive in my head.
Published 1 month ago by Nutty
4.0 out of 5 stars like being with old friends
I read, no devoured the earlier books as they appeared in print, and after a long time have picked up with them in their later years. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Southern
4.0 out of 5 stars Another interesting and truthful addition to the series...
I have to say, I found Mary Ann a truthfully written character, but not one I liked, particularly after Babycakes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by CG
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the saga
I believe this is the penultimate book in the 'Tale' series that Maupin is going to write. Everyone is older, but not necessarily wiser. All your old favourites are here!
Published 3 months ago by Mr 80s
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Armistead's best moment - but still worth a read
I didn't rush to read this having been a bit under-whelmed by Michael T lives. But having really enjoyed Last Days of Anna Madrigal I went back to this. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. RpN
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels like going back home!
Loved this book, all the favorite characters are in there, and it delves into their lives perfectly as always so you feel like part of the family! Highly recommended!
Published 5 months ago by Ian Parkinson
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