From Publishers Weekly
In the sure-to-please follow-up to Michael Tolliver Lives, the bestselling Tales of the City reboot, it's been 20 years since series anchor Mary Ann Singleton left her family and headed to New York. Maupin's San Francisco is comforting in its familiarity, and the gang is (mostly) all here, older, wiser, and settled in: Michael "Mouse" Tolliver is married to Ben; Shawna, Mary Ann's estranged daughter, is a popular sex blogger who is dating Otto, an enigmatic professional clown; and grand dame Anna Madrigal, once landlady to Michael and Mary Ann, is still kicking in her late 80s. Into this milieu returns Mary Ann, who ditched her husband and the young Shawna for a career in television. Now, nearing 60, she's back with news she can't bear to tell anyone but Michael. From the haven of his tiny garden cottage, Mary Ann regroups and confronts some uncomfortable chapters in her past. As ever, Maupin's edgy wit energizes the layered story lines. His keen eye for irony and human foible is balanced by an innate compassion in this examination of the life of a woman of a certain age.
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San Francisco in the 1960s was ground zero of the hippie movement and the fertile sprouting field of gay culture and liberation—in other words, tolerance of the unconventional was the meat and spice of the place. Maupin’s cult series Tales of the City, three novels of which, Tales of the City (1978), More Tales of the City (1980), and Further Tales of the City (1982), served as the basis for a popular television series, captures with sheer delight the many faces of diversity in that electric city in those Grace Slick times. Now, in Maupin’s new novel, as his devoted readership has aged, so have the greatly loved characters who gravitated to 28 Barbary Lane. The focal character is Mary Ann Singleton, who for a long time has been living a by-the-book life in Connecticut, but when she is diagnosed with cancer and confronted with her husband’s infidelity, she needs retreat and restoration, which she seeks back in her old haunts, among old friends. The graying of the Tales of the City cast won’t sadden readers. This affectionate novel, with its carefully unfolding story line (and perfect ending), will work its warmth and charm. High-Demand Backstory: Maupin will make appearances on the West Coast, online publicity will be focused on writing blogs and LGBT sites, and a social-networking campaign will be carried out on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. --Brad Hooper