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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing old disgracefully
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...
Published on 23 Jun 2008 by Stewart Baxter

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had hoped
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...
Published on 15 Feb 2010 by Anthony M


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had hoped, 15 Feb 2010
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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
By 
Stewart Baxter (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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
By 
sam155 (Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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.

I also felt that I wanted more detail about all the Barbary Lane crew, rather than skimming in a handful of paragraphs over halfway in. I was thrilled there were lots of Mrs Madrigal scenes though, and touched by the scenes between Brian and his daughter. Once again, the descriptions of San Francisco are like a poetic love letter, and the city is very much a character itself.

Not much happens, but not much needs to, if you are a fan like me, you just like being immersed in the TOTC world as you are in this book. Overall, I loved the company of these much loved characters, but felt it was almost an autobiography (we know AM has a a younger husband- does he need to keep talking about it through his novel?), and the arguments, though valid, were stodgy and heavy handed. There is still a vein of humour and lightness throughout though, and overall, I did enjoy reading it. Like life itself, everyone is older, wiser and sadder, but still essentially, themselves and making the best of this bittersweet life.
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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 (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars The thing I loved about the Tales Of The City series was how ..., 16 July 2014
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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. Big revelations follow, however you must read the book for yourselves to discover what those revelations are.

There are some new characters, Jake is particularly loveable and is introduced as a man some time before it is revealed he was born female. As we are told the truth of his gender after getting to know him it is easier to accept him as a 'man', a similar trick pulled in the past with the Anna Madrigal character who is thankfully still around. In all this is a very enjoyable, easy read but seems to just fall short of the standard of his previous works. It is certainly good enough to delight fans of the series and there are some open ended plots which hint at further books to come.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ... of the City" and a couple of sequels were fantastic, this is rather trashy I thought, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
"Tales of the City" and a couple of sequels were fantastic, this is rather trashy I thought, cashing in on former success?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous addition to the series..., 6 Jun 2014
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So believable and true to the characters we have all grown to love and know. It made me both laugh and cry.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very slight - disappointing follow up to Tales of the City, 4 April 2014
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
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. But you need more than just fond memories to make a book - you also need a story, but this book was so slight and inconsequential that I wondered why did he bother putting out a sequel. Nothing really happens of any interest. Mini episodes of no consequence are put in (Brian looking for the cave) for no reason - and I ended up skimming some of them. The story of his brother and sister in law's argument seemed far fetched and unlikely - even allowing for Tales of the City liberties. The constant emphasis on how happy he was with his younger husband and how devoted his younger husband was to him started to grate after a while - ok I get it he has a younger husband!

The joy and levity of the first six books was sadly missing, with messages being pummelled home ad nauseum - and did you know his younger husband has the hots for him!

However having read all the Tales of the City books in the past few months I will read his remaining two follow up books to complete the set. I hope they are a significant improvement on this.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alive and Kicking!, 3 Jun 2008
By 
Ford Ka (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
Michael Tolliver is (as the title rather clearly suggests) alive and kicking. Those who thought they would never see him again and imagined him succumbing to AIDS are in for a pleasant surprise. Michael copes perfectly well with the virus and he finds out that life still has a lot of surprises in stock for him.
Let's start with Ben a boyfriend for whom a partner some years senior is a major turn on. And to whom Michael is now officially married. He still has friends (though some live quite far away) and a thriving social life including... senior but by no means senile Anna Madrigal.
But the book is not only about care-free middle age and the joys of being gay in San Francisco. Maupin quite skilfully (we know he can do it, don't we?) introduces several more sombre and serious subjects, the most important of which is coping with the loss of the near and dear. He does it so cunningly that giving any details would be a terrible spoiler so just stop reading this and get the book!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the city!, 25 July 2008
By 
Philip Thompson "abby1710" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) (Paperback)
As a novel its quite a good story and well written but the key success for me was I found I was visiting friends again that I didn't know I'd missed so much. It was great having these characters alive and hearing them speak again as the original "Tales" books were so much fun to read. Maupins greatest success is in creating characters we really care about and thats why it gets five stars not for the story but the thrill of Anna, Mouse, Brian etc being brought back to me.
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Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City)
Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City) by Armistead Maupin (Paperback - 2 Jun 2008)
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