Mary Ann in Autumn

Mary Ann in Autumn

A Tales of the City Novel

Book - 2010 | 1st ed.
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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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