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Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) [Paperback]

Armistead Maupin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2008 Tales of the City

Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, is arguably the most beloved gay character in fiction. Now, almost twenty years after ending his groundbreaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the 55-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.

While Maupin insists that this book is not, strictly speaking, a continuation of Tales of the City, 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.

Frequently Bought Together

Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) + Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City) + Sure of You: Tales of the City Series, Vol.6
Price For All Three: £19.17

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (2 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552772933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552772938
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"More than enough charm, wit and pathos to keep even a Maupin virgin enthralled" Independent "A book of considerable charm" Daily Mail "Comedy in its most classical form... some of the sharpest and most speakable dialogue you are ever likely to read" Guardian "May well be the funniest series of novels currently in progress... Maupin's ear for dialogue is as acute as his feeling for characterisation, and the net result is as engaging a read as you are likely to encounter" The Times "The Tales of the City sequence has been one of the literary menus plaisirs of the past decade - Maupin with his elegance and charm has found a place among the classics" Observer

Book Description

The long-awaited new novel in the internationally bestselling Tales of the City sequence

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had hoped 15 Feb 2010
I was overjoyed to see Maupin had brought out something to bring the Barberry Lane crowd up to date. I so looked forward to relaxing with the familiar prose and slipping into its world as if meeting up with an old friend I hadn't seen in years. So it is with huge regret that I cannot report that this was any great trip down memory lane. First of all, the book is all but in large print in a cheap effort to pad out its pages in an attempt to distract you from the fact it is no more than a novella in length. Secondly, the Barberry Lane crowd has little more than a passing mention, set aside to focus on Mouse's relationship with his new partner. I also found the book bludgeoned any points it was trying to make, shouting at the converted and overdoing the stock religious character type.
It was an enjoyable enough read, but I think Maupin has missed completely what his fans were looking for. I also felt a little cheated by its paltry length. No sooner was I opening the book than I was finishing its last page.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing old disgracefully 23 Jun 2008
How we'ver missed both Mr Maupin's writing and his wonderful creation, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver! A return to form made me quickly realise the strengths in Armistead Maupin's writing: the quirky scenarios, the real characters of every human hue except "normal" - whatever that is - the laid back, humourous style and the simple laugh out loud one liners sneaked into the dialogue here and there. Mr Tolliver is now older and more thoughtful, but still retains his values, beliefs and unique style, surrounding himself with real friends, a new partner - and all their problems - to support him through life, and challenging the American perspective that family is everything. In fact Michael's family is a bit of a nightmare and he's successfully managed to move on from them. There are also overt challenges to the loony-fringe christian elements, a helpful different perspective in my view given their damaging influence on US politics. Utterly readable and frank, I do hope Mr Maupin allows us to share more of Michael Tolliver growing old disgracefully!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm. How can I put this? 22 Jun 2008
In my eyes Armistead Maupin can do no wrong. Or so I thought. I have loved his Tales of The City books and come back to them over and over as classics and favourites. However, delighted as I was when I saw a sequel had been written, I couldn't help feeling a few things were different. Obviously the single first person narrative is a chnage from the multi stranded stories in TOTC but that needn't necessarily detract from the book. I think what made me ever so slightly uncomfortable was, dare I say it, what can only be described as self indulgence. There felt to me as if there was more author than character in Michael Tolliver at times. There was far too much detail about his marriage. I know that sounds odd, this being about a happily married man and that man being the main protaginist, but bear with me. I just found the sex scene a little too much to bear, as if I was watching when I shouldn't have been. I am no prude, otherwise why would I be such a fan of TOTC? I just felt like it was an intimacy I didn't need to share quite so graphically and in quite so much depth. After all, I get that they are happily married. I got it long before the sex scene. My friends know I am happily married, but I don't give them a long and detailed account of our sex life.

The other thing that bothered me slightly was the heavy handedness in which Maupin makes his points. In the book, Michael argues with his fundamendal Christian brother and sister in law. Whilst I agree with his points of pro-tolerance and his anti-hypocrisy stance, it sounded a bit preachy. After all, it is doubtful that this book is being read by intolerant religious fundamentalists. Its preaching to the converted.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The return of Micheal Mouse 29 July 2008
By Tealady2000 VINE VOICE
Fans of Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City' will be eager to find out what became of Michael Tolliver and the rest of the crazy characters from San Francisco. This book is quite a departure from the TotC series because it is written in the first person and therefore we really hear Michael's voice for the first time (although to be honest I wasn't sure if I was hearing Michael's voice, or just the author's, since their lives seem to share many similarities). Furthermore this book is mostly about Michael - there are just brief updates on the others (only Anna, Brian and Shawna play much of a part). Nevertheless this is an easy, fun read, outrageously rude in places and absolutely hilarious in others. If you haven't read any of the Tales of the City series, you're better off starting with those (and you're in for a treat).
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The thing I loved about the Tales Of The City series was how Maupin had a cast of characters that covered the whole spectrum of sexuality, gay, straight, lesbian, trans etc. and via the gift of his beautiful writing it is evident that the problems we face through life are universal. Maupin shows there is more common ground than difference within humanity. I also found the books educational and revealing, the impact of HIV and AIDS was introduced to me for the first time from a Maupin book . Another example would be in the fourth book, 'Babycakes', when Michael explains how his relationship with his physician lover John had settled into sexless domesticity yet they were still undoubtedly a couple in both of their eyes. I could not get my head around this and actually found the revelation rather sad but life experience has given me an understanding of this common situation within gay relationships. These are but two reasons why I think Maupin is a very wise man continually in touch with the zeitgeist although in a more 'personal' way than a writer like Douglas Coupland.

So a good few years have passed and the series returns with 'Michael Tolliver Lives', which is more of a straightforward story than previous books. Yet again Maupin shows how in touch he is with the zeitgeist, focussing on the long term survival of AIDS victims and the age difference between partners in gay relationships, a phenomena that is becoming increasingly evident within gay culture. Michael is alive and well thanks to combination therapy and has found himself a devoted (much) younger lover in the Ben character. We get to meet more of Michael's family when he and Ben take a trip back to Michael's home town.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very enjoyable read
Published 28 days ago by Ann Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars and was delighted. Thank
Received it quickly, and was delighted. Thank you
Published 2 months ago by Valerie Gately
2.0 out of 5 stars ... of the City" and a couple of sequels were fantastic, this is...
"Tales of the City" and a couple of sequels were fantastic, this is rather trashy I thought, cashing in on former success?
Published 3 months ago by geoffrey bedward
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous addition to the series...
So believable and true to the characters we have all grown to love and know. It made me both laugh and cry.
Published 4 months ago by Clare Gibb
2.0 out of 5 stars Very slight - disappointing follow up to Tales of the City
I thoroughly enjoyed the Tales of the City series and I was looking forward to catching up with the characters and what had happened in their lives. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Damo Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Visit San Francisco from your armchair
The whole Tales of the City series is a delight. The characters are beautifully created and make me wish they were my friends. Read more
Published 7 months ago by k armes
5.0 out of 5 stars Guilty pleasures!
What's not to like, thoroughly engaging, easy to read and will no doubt bring a tear or two to your eyes. Be sure to read the original "Tales of the city" series first.
Published 8 months ago by Just a thought!
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic Maupin classic!
I loved the chance to catch up with Michael, Mrs Madrigal and the other main characters from the classic "Tales" Series! A lovely lovely book.
Published 8 months ago by Kath
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious food for thought
This one gives delicious food for thought, brings you right back into the world of Barbary Lane and beyond like you never left.
Published 8 months ago by Pete Townsend
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Another great book by Armistead Maupin.
A heartfelt and warming continuation of the Tales of the city saga centred around around a now middle aged Mouse
Published 11 months ago by Bloke
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