Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Maupin denies that this is a seventh volume of his beloved Tales of the City, but happily that's exactly what it is, with style and invention galore. When we left the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, it was 1989, and Michael 'Mouse' Tolliver was coping with the supposed death sentence of HIV. Now, improved drug cocktails have given him a new life, while regular shots of testosterone and doses of Viagra allow him a rich and inventive sex life with a new boyfriend, Ben, 'twenty-one years younger than I am an entire adult younger, if you must insist on looking at it that way.' Number 28 Barbary Lane itself is no more, but its former tenants are doing well, for the most part, in diaspora. Michael's best friend, ladies' man Brian Hawkins, is back, and unprepared for his grown daughter, Shawna, a pansexual it-girl journalist la Michelle Tea, to leave for a New York career. Mrs. Madrigal, the transsexual landlady, is still radiant and mysterious at age 85. Maupin introduces a dazzling variety of real-life reference points, but the story belongs to Mouse, whose chartings of the transgressive, multigendered sex trends of San Francisco are every bit as lovable as Mouse's original wet jockey shorts contest in the very first Tales, back in 1978. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[C]harming, heartwarming....This is a kind of wrapping-up novel, but also a giving-thanks one....Sweet without being sappy." Booklist (Starred Review)
"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." Library Journal
"Maupin's writing style is both breezy and humorous, which makes the sadder moments all the more poignant." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"[G]reat fun to read. Maupin is a master at sustained and sustaining comic turns." New York Times
"[W]itty and tragic....The past may be a foreign country, but this literary day trip reminds us of why we love to travel." Rocky Mountain News
The internationally bestselling author of Tales of the City revisits his gay Everyman from the series, allowing the 55-year-old Michael Tolliver to tell his story in his own voice. Brimming with gentle insights about the human condition, this is a novel about the act of growing older joyfully.
About the Author
Armistead Maupin is the author of Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Maybe the Moon, and The Night Listener. Three television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three Tales novels. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner.