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Michael Tolliver Lives | [Armistead Maupin]

Michael Tolliver Lives

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 20 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 20 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 Michael Tolliver Lives is a stand-alone novel, accessible to old 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.

©2007 Armistead Maupin; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sweet without being sappy." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (216 )
5 star
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3.9 (75 )
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4.1 (76 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mark Long Beach, CA, USA 04-23-08
    Mark Long Beach, CA, USA 04-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I SO wanted to love this."

    Having read all of the Tales of the City books 3 or 4 times each, I couldn't wait to tear into the further adventures of Mouse. I fully expected to love the book. Maybe my expectations were too high.

    While Michael Tolliver Lives was funny and entertaining, it just didn't have the sweetness and charm of the original 6 books. I know Maupin says that it's not a sequel (though clearly it is), and shouldn't be compared to the other books, but obviously that's what everyone is going to do. And this one left me a bit unsatisfied.

    This book seemed more a justification of Maupin's life than a novel. Frankly, I don't care how old Maupin's boyfriend is. I'm thrilled that he's happy, but I don't care to be preached to about the joys and trials of a May/December romance.

    You'd be better off going back and reading the original Tales books. Now THERE lies magic.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 07-21-07
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 07-21-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worthy epilogue to Tales"

    If you're a fan of the Tales of the City books (as I am), you will thoroughly enjoy revisiting the main characters that you have missed all these years since the last novel was completed. Now, they are roughly 20 years older, and Maupin presents them as characters living with new interests, concerns and conflicts. I would have to agree that Michael Tolliver Lives is not quite up to the same extraordinary level of the first 6 books, but it is nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable, engrossing, and moving read. Superbly read by the author.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn Ashburnham, MA, USA 10-03-08
    Kathryn Ashburnham, MA, USA 10-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like spending time with an old friend!"

    I loved the Tales of the City series, and it was great fun catching up with Michael, Mrs. Madrigal, et al.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James New York, NY, United States 06-30-07
    James New York, NY, United States 06-30-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sweetly Unsentimental"

    Michael "Mouse" Tolliver has always been the voice of reason in AM's The Tales of the City, but he comes to full maturity in this latest effort: Michael Tolliver Lives. Michael, once unabashedly youthful, has slipped into upper middle age with all the vigor and wit we'd expect. He lives comfortably with his much younger lover in the shadow of 28 Barberry Lane in what could be described as a "new" life, but the past is unalterably present.

    This novel shakes him and things up when he's forced to choose between his logical and biological family. In doing so, Michael and the reader come to realize the heart has room to hold dearly more than we had ever thought.

    There is sadness in Michael Tolliver Lives, as well as sweetness and sentiment and beautiful prose. With the wisdom that comes from experience, AM provides a resolution that makes for powerful insight into the human condition.

    I loved this book and all it represents. Read it and and weep (or maybe smile!).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PAlsum Madison, WI, United States 12-14-11
    PAlsum Madison, WI, United States 12-14-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "more about the family!"
    If you could sum up Michael Tolliver Lives in three words, what would they be?

    warm human friend


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Michael Tolliver Lives?

    which mother will he be with in her extremity?


    What does Armistead Maupin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    the interview with Mr Maupin was interesting. I always loved reading the books, too.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    don't know what a tag line is


    Any additional comments?

    I spent a lot of comfortable evenings with this audiobook

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, USA 01-21-08
    Michael Silver Spring, MD, USA 01-21-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Friends indeed"

    I originally read the Tales series in the 80's. Some of this reading occured on city buses during my comute. I can remember bursting into laughter and turning redfaced on the bus. This book was certainly a return to old friends, a joyful experience. And a reminder that no matter how far we travel, we can always go home.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Carlson columbus ohio 07-07-07
    C. Carlson columbus ohio 07-07-07 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "terrific listen"

    I was so happy to read more about the characters I came to love in the "Tales of the City" series of books years ago. As the characters and I are in the same age range I also appreciated Maupin's keen observations of the vicissitudes of aging. A lovely experience to hear him reading the book, as well.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tollhouse Cedar Grove, NJ, United States 06-22-12
    Tollhouse Cedar Grove, NJ, United States 06-22-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It's missing something"

    Sadly, this book is devoid of the charm that made Tales of the City so engaging and endearing. As a result, I didn't really care about Michael any more, which makes me sad.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 07-03-07
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 07-03-07 Member Since 2006
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    "A good listen........"

    I really enjoyed this. Having been a fan of the earlier Tales City books, this was like having old friends coming home. Its not great art or literature,but it was extremely enjoyable. I particularly liked the theme in the book about how one has a biological family, and a logical family of ones choosing .......press express checkout and find out what is happening to those characters you know and love.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Oceanside, CA, United States 12-17-08
    Mark Oceanside, CA, United States 12-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Pleasantly surprised"

    I frankly had no idea what this book was about when I downloaded it. I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be and extremely entertaining listen. Maupin has created a very interesting set of characters whose humanity and humanness will lift your spirits.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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