Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic "Tales of the City" series, is arguably the most beloved gay character in fiction. Now, almost twenty 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 Maupin insists that this book is not, strictly speaking, a continuation of "Tales of the City", 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 à 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." Publishers Weekly
‘Maupin remains a great storyteller, a magnificently unrepentant liberal, and a wise, witty observer of the differences which make us human’ Sunday Telegraph
‘More than enough charm, wit and pathos to keep even a Maupin virgin enthralled…The echoes of the previous novels will send them scurrying back to discover what they’ve been missing’ Independent
‘Anyone who enjoyed [Maupin’s] earlier books will welcome this opportunity for a return trip to its setting…Has the warmth of a reunion long overdue’ New York Times
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. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. Maupin lives in San Francisco with his husband, Christopher Turner. Official Author Web Site: www.ArmisteadMaupin.com