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Barbary Lane *Revisited*! Must For "Tales..." Fans! *Newcomers* Should Read The First Book! This Has *PLOT* SPOILERS!

  • Dec 7, 2010
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I was overjoyed when I saw that Armistead Maupin wrote one more "Tales Of The City" novel. I loved all the books in the series, especially the first three (Tales of the City: A Novel (P.S.), More Tales of the City (Showtime Tie-In Edition), Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City Series, V. 3) -- collected in omnibus 28 Barbary Lane: A "Tales of the City" Omnibus), and this one features the return of Mary Ann Singleton, who brought readers into the first book and became despised by fans toward the end in book 6: Sure of You (Tales of the City Series, V. 6). Reading this one was like catching up with long lost friends.

Here in the present day, Mary Ann returns to San Francisco and to Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, her best friend, former neighbor at Barbary Lane, and extended family member, because she just found out she has cancer. And to boot, she caught her husband cheating on her and her life seems to be turned upside down. Coming back to San Francisco, Mary Ann gets reacquainted with the city that she once called home, and to the people she called her family. But skeletons from her past come back to haunt her and it all ends with a horrific climax.

Maupin does not disappoint in MARY ANN IN AUTUMN. His writing style is still intact with plot twists, mysteries, memorable characters, and that certain something that gives all of his "Tales" books something that feels very San Francisco. Although new characters are introduced -- actually many were introduced years before -- many beloved characters make appearances including Mrs. Madrigal, DeDe, and D'or. Even Gabriel Noone, a character from Maupin's book, Night Listener, The tie-in: A Novel (P.S.), has a Hitchcock-ian cameo.

Fans of the "Tales Of The City" series will love this book as it ties up loose ends and explains why Mary Ann took certain actions in the past. For those new to "Tales", you don't have to know any of the previous books or characters to get pulled into this story. Although if you haven't read the first book, this one might be a plot spoiler because of certain things that happened in book one. If you don't like plot spoilers and prefer to read all the books of a series in sequence, I'd advise start reading with book one. If you don't mind plot spoilers then it's perfectly fine to read this book first and not be lost as to what is going on. But trust me, once you read MARY ANN IN AUTUMN you'll want to go back and read the other books.

The way Maupin can manipulate and change these characters and their inner dynamics, thereby shifting the focus of the stories, while still holding the reader's interest, not only keeps the "Tales Of The City" books fresh, but also shows the mark of a very talented writer.

I hate to speculate and say that this really will be the last "Tales Of The City" novel, but I'm wondering can the books continue? Fans will have to wait and see because as we've experienced in the past, just when we think we can't live without a certain character Maupin comes in and takes him or her away. In doing so, the writer shows us that the books aren't really about a specific character or place but more about the interactions between people; people who are not related, but bond together like a family. Maybe that's why his books are beloved by so many. I highly recommend it!

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review by . January 08, 2011
       Although it was the 1970s when Armistead Maupin first introduced readers to the residents of 28 Barbary Lane, it grew from that newspaper serial to six bestselling novels and an award winning TV series. Thanks to the skills of Maupin the story of those people is as engaging today as it was then. What a pleasure it is to be reintroduced to Mary Ann Singleton in the insightful, compassionate MARY ANN IN AUTUMN, A Tales of the City novel.     We …
review by . February 17, 2011
Before there was Sex and the City, there were Tales of the City. Granted, it was a different city...and some different sex in that city. Armistead Maupin’s stories of singles and couples - gay, straight, and either/or - navigating their way through San Francisco over the course during a decade that went from the disco dazzle of the mid-70s to the AIDS crisis in Reagan’s America were originally serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle and collected into six novels. I read and re-read …
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In the sure-to-please follow-up to Michael Tolliver Lives, the bestselling Tales of the City reboot, it's been 20 years since series anchor Mary Ann Singleton left her family and headed to New York. Maupin's San Francisco is comforting in its familiarity, and the gang is (mostly) all here, older, wiser, and settled in: Michael "Mouse" Tolliver is married to Ben; Shawna, Mary Ann's estranged daughter, is a popular sex blogger who is dating Otto, an enigmatic professional clown; and grand dame Anna Madrigal, once landlady to Michael and Mary Ann, is still kicking in her late 80s. Into this milieu returns Mary Ann, who ditched her husband and the young Shawna for a career in television. Now, nearing 60, she's back with news she can't bear to tell anyone but Michael. From the haven of his tiny garden cottage, Mary Ann regroups and confronts some uncomfortable chapters in her past. As ever, Maupin's edgy wit energizes the layered story lines. His keen eye for irony and human foible is balanced by an innate compassion in this examination of the life of a woman of a certain age.
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ISBN-10: 0061470880
ISBN-13: 978-0061470882
Author: Armistead Maupin
Publisher: Harper

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