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Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel Hardcover – November 2, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews
Book 8 of 9 in the Tales of the City Series

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Series: Tales of the City
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061470880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061470882
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'd never been to San Francisco when I read the first five Tales of the City books. Armisted Maupin had created this wacky, wonderful city that seemed as fictional as the setting of any fantasy. I saved book six for my first visit to San Francisco, and once I arrived, I discovered the magical city that Maupin had created was exactly as described. On that first visit to San Francisco, I called my best friend and said, "I'm pulling a Mary Ann." I've been here nearly a decade.

I relate the above to explain that these books have had a fairly significant influence on my life. These characters are dear friends. And at one point I did very much empathize with series protagonist Mary Ann Singleton. Over time, we grew apart. I didn't understand all the choices she had made. Now Mary Ann and I are both a lot older than we were when we first met. After all this time, it is such a pure delight to catch up with her!

Alas, things aren't going so well on her end--on a variety of levels. Robert Frost once said, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." For Mary Ann, that place is San Francisco, with Michael "Mouse" Tolliver. He and his husband Ben don't let her down. In addition to Mary Ann's crises, this novel spends significant time checking in with Michael's business partner, Jake, and Mary Ann's adopted daughter, Shawna. An extra bonus in this novel, for long-time devotees like me, is that one of the plot elements ties back to the very first Tales novel.

I read this novel in no time flat. It was a joy from start to finish! (Oh, and if I weren't blurring the lines between fact and fiction enough already, a real life acquaintance of mine makes a cameo appearance in the book! That's a first.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The TALES OF THE CITY series begins with Mary Ann Singleton's decision to remain in San Francisco. We first see the other characters through her eyes as she begins to explore her new home and gather her logical (as opposed to biological) family around her.. When the first series of six books concluded Mary Ann abandoned her home and friends for yet another new life in New York, leaving many readers - this one included - feeling as though they had been let down by an old friend. When Maupin at last returned to the series with MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES readers were delighted to once again catch up with old friends from Barbary Lane but rather saddened that Mary Ann only passed through the story.

Now we travel full circle as Mary Ann once again returns to the City, this time not as a sweet young girl full of hope but as an older, sadder woman seeking solace. Mary Ann's prefect life in Darien had fallen apart. Her trophy husband had disappointed her, her support system had crumbled when she needed it most so once again Mary Ann had turned to logical family, primarily Michael (Mouse) Tolliver, much to the discomfort of his husband Ben. As Michael helps Mary Ann the pair reconnect, enabling her to seek out her (and our) old friends, DeDe and D'Or, Anna, and Shawna. As always with this series the various seemingly unrelated plot lines twist through the story until they ultimately combine into a satisfying climax.

For all of us who had wailed "NOOOOOOOO!" at Mary Ann's departure at the end of SURE OF YOU her return in this novel is most satisfying. The joy of her return though is somewhat bittersweet as more of the ongoing plot lines reach conclusions that seem all too final.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Armistead Maupin deserves the highest kudos for what he has created. To think that TALES OF THE CITY started as a newspaper serial and then became one book, then another establishing characters that were so real it was as if the reader knew them all. San Francisco is a character just as much as the people. We have straight characters, gay characters, transgendered characters. Basically life itself is represented here. With each book over the years and decades Mr. Maupin has addressed the issues of the time and the characters have become even more endearing over time. A couple years back MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES brought readers back to a world of love and friends. Now he returns with MARY ANN IN AUTUMN. The main plot is about Mary Ann but many characters from the original series are here as well from the faithful Michael, Mrs. Madrigal, DeDe and D'or plus many others introduced over the years like Ben, Jake and Shawna. Barbary Lane itself has changed somewhat with the times and this is what keeps these novels alive. Armistead Maupin gives us what and who we loved from past novels while changing with the times and introduces great plots and new characters to care about with each venture. This novel is no different. Our beloved friends are back and reading this book is like curling up with your favorite blanket. The new characters are great and we even get brought back to a plot line from the past which I will leave a mystery. Just let me say this book delivers in all ways.

Please Armistead Maupin, don't stop here. Growing older with these beloved characters is a gift you cannot imagine. Highly recommended.
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