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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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  • Overall

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 06-30-07

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!).

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Long Beach, CA, USA
  • 04-23-08

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

  • Overall
  • Kathryn
  • Ashburnham, MA, USA
  • 10-03-08

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

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • PAlsum
  • Madison, WI, United States
  • 12-14-11

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

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Silver Spring, MD, USA
  • 01-21-08

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

  • Overall

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

  • Overall
  • Rebecca
  • Plainfield, VT, United States
  • 07-03-07

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 express checkout and find out what is happening to those characters you know and love.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Marianna
  • Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • 01-30-13

An extraordinary story, both poignant and humerous

Would you listen to Michael Tolliver Lives again? Why?

There are so many sub-plots and each one fascinating - much like our own lives often are
multifaceted, so I would listen to it again; probably on a road trip.

What did you like best about this story?

The interweaving of lives that are totally alien to mine.

Have you listened to any of Armistead Maupin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to them all - and I cannot say one is better than the other because they are a continuation of the lives of the characters that you meet in the first book.

If you could take any character from Michael Tolliver Lives out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Michael Tolliver - naturally!!!

Any additional comments?

Anyone who listens to this won't be disappointed - there are some explicit sexual descriptions but nothing that we don't already have access to in other forms of media. And if you totally don't like it, then fast forward! : )

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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  • Tollhouse
  • Red Bank, NJ, United States
  • 06-22-12

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

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • 10-08-17

A highly welcome return

For lovers of the "Tales of the City" series, Armistead Maupin revisits our friends nearly 20 later, chronicled through the eyes the lovable Michael 'Mouse' Tolliver

Having endured, and survived, the horror of the AIDS epidemic, Michael is living his contented mid-life with his new Husband, Ben; both being situations he never thought he'd see

Maupin denied that this book was part of the 'Tales' series, and I suppose it could stand alone as a survivor's story, however it's real beauty comes in allowing 'Tales' fans the opportunity to find out how their old friends are doing and what they're up to now

A truly heartwarming book, performed by Maupin with sensitivity, love and his never-ending realness

1 of 1 people found this review helpful