Mary Ann in Autumn

Mary Ann in Autumn

A Tales of the City Novel

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
After suffering personal calamities in New York, Mary Ann Singleton moves back to San Francisco after being gone for 20 years and begins to slowly rebuild her life, only to confront fresh terrors when her past comes back to haunt her. By the author of Michael Tolliver Lives. 100,000 first printing.


A hilarious and touching new installment of Armistead Maupin's beloved Tales of the City series

Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, a gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.

Mary Ann finds temporary refuge in the couple's backyard cottage, where, at the unnerving age of fifty-seven, she licks her wounds and takes stock of her mistakes. Soon, with the help of Facebook and a few old friends, she begins to reengage with life, only to confront fresh terrors when her checkered past comes back to haunt her in a way she could never have imagined.

After the intimate first-person narrative of Maupin's last novel, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn marks the author's return to the multicharacter plotlines and darkly comic themes of his earlier work. Among those caught in Mary Ann's orbit are her estranged daughter, Shawna, a popular sex blogger; Jake Greenleaf, Michael's transgendered gardening assistant; socialite DeDe Halcyon-Wilson; and the indefatigable Anna Madrigal, Mary Ann's former landlady at 28 Barbary Lane.

More than three decades in the making, Armistead Maupin's legendary Tales of the City series rolls into a new age, still sassy, irreverent, and curious, and still exploring the boundaries of the human experience with insight, compassion, and mordant wit.

Blackwell Publishing
“An enormously talented writer. . . . By writing about what’s seemingly different, Armistead Maupin always manages to capture what’s so hilariously, painfully true for all of us.” —Amy Tan, author of The Bonesetter’s Daughter

“Maupin writes with warmth, acuity and tremendous wit. . . . Read him.” —Publishers Weekly

Following the success of his New York Times bestseller Michael Tolliver Lives, Armistead Maupin’s Mary Ann in Autumn is a touching portrait of friendship, family, and fresh starts, as the City by the Bay welcomes back Mary Ann Singleton, the beloved Tales of the City heroine who started it all. A new chapter begins in the lives of both Mary Ann and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver when she returns to San Francisco to rejoin her oldest friend after years in New York City…the reunion that fans of Maupin’s beloved Tales of the City series have been awaiting for years.

& Taylor

After suffering personal calamities in New York, Mary Ann Singleton moves back to San Francisco after being gone for twenty years and begins to slowly rebuild her life, only to confront fresh terrors when her past comes back to haunt her.

Publisher: New York, NY : HarperCollins, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061470882
Characteristics: 287 p. ; 24 cm


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gracindaisy Jan 30, 2012

Reading this book was like meeting an old friend after many years. I was surprised how quickly I recalled the TV series, Tales of the City, so many years ago. While probably not great literature, this was a great read!

May 25, 2011

When I read the Tales of the City books as a teen I fell in love with the idea presented within the six volumes of San Francisco as a last outpost of the world where, no matter what the circumstances of current events, romance and adventure were still alive. This was a place where I could see myself growing up and living in. Armistead Maupin introduced me to a bunch of characters who felt like they could be friends and, in some ways, created a blueprint for what my expectations of adult life would be like (as you can imagine this has made things a little difficult at times).

When I re-read these books in my twenties, I enjoyed them and saw them for the impossible fairy tales that they were. Now that I was the same age, or in some cases older, than the characters, I could read these books from a more mature distance and still love the characters and situations for the perfect little time capsules that they were.

When Michael Tolliver Lives was released, I devoured it and found it an interesting and satisfying bookend to the series. In my mind, this wasn’t a Tales book because of the first-person narration. I did enjoy revisiting this world in the present but found it odd that these beloved friends, albeit some only briefly visited or mentioned, were so…ahem, old.

With the release of Mary Ann in Autumn, Maupin returns to his beloved San Francisco and characters and is back to third-person narration. He also brings back his love for cliffhanger chapter endings, hilarious, if almost impossible coincidences (these only serve the magical quality of his San Francisco), and dialogue that feels like eavesdropping on friends.

In this 8th book in the Tales series, Mary Ann returns to San Francisco to deal with a current problem and is confronted with one or two from her past. Michael Tolliver, Anna Madrigal, Dee Dee and D’or all make appearances and get time in the book as well. If there is another book I’d love to hear stories of Brian travelling the US in his motor home (a typical activity for his age that the author would make atypical). Maupin’s gift for dialogue and his amazing way of defining a place that couldn’t possibly exist (his version of San Francisco) but somehow reads as completely real and true is back and in perfect form. One hopes for another 4 or so books in this world as a continuation of the story he began almost 40 years ago.

While it’s true that the characters are almost Senior Citizens, they now read like matured, well-aged versions of themselves. If the day to day problems and situations are less sexy than in the first books (Mary Ann joins Facebook, Michael has a torn rotator cuff) the maturity that both author and characters have developed serve the story well.

If you are a fan of this series and haven’t read the latest, then get your hands on a copy and if you’ve never read any of these books then I strongly urge you to pick up the first, Tales of the City and I promise you will devour this in short, but fun read in one sitting. I envy anyone who gets to enter this world for the first time.


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