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Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City #7)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,413 ratings  ·  496 reviews
Nearly two decades after ending his groundbreaking Tales of the City saga of San Francisco life, Armistead Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero Michael Tolliver—the fifty-five-year-old sweet-spirited gardener and survivor of the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers—for a single day at once mundane and extraordinary . . . and filled with the everyday miracle ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published May 20th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary
I was at the library the other day and picked this up from the new books shelf on a whim. Reading it totally reminded me why I stopped reading the Tales of the City books after Babycakes. As much as I love the original ones, it seems like Armistead Maupin is the West Coast's equivalent of Candice Bushnell. Or maybe Sarah Jessica Parker. I say that because in the case of SatC, it actually started out being funny and thoughtful and ended up becoming a big ego-fest for the central star/character. A ...more
Casey
I read the series when I was way too young, and it basically blew my mind. Picture it: I was this little Catholic school girl reading about cock rings. COCK RINGS, people. You can imagine the educational experience this was. I credit Maupin's stories with giving me an open mind about all kinds of different lifestyles. And an open mind is not a common thing in my little Mayberry town.

But I guess I grew up, and sex is no longer this forbidden thing. Michael Tolliver Lives doesn't have anything new
...more
Faith
From an interview Maupin did with Lambda Book Report, I know he shares my dislike for "post-gay" books. True to his preference for gay authors who write gay books, this novel has hot gay male sex; characters reflecting on how their relationships with parents, each other, etc. are affected by their sexual orientation; and a little boy who's probably "pre-gay."

The book revisits all the Tales of the City characters we love (Maupin is being coy to claim it isn't part of the TOTC series) and is as ex
...more
Sidney
Since this is my personal favorite of all the "Tales of the City" books, it really pisses me off to read all the negative reviews this one has gotten, mainly from peeps who were expecting yet another episodes in the "Tales" saga. Armistead Maupin confounds those expectations by totally going off format: it is narrated first person by Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, and so is a much more simpler and personal narrative than the other books. This is not meant to be a sprawling multi-story narrative, it's ...more
Brandon Meredith
Dear Mr. Maupin,

I want to thank you for your book "Michael Tolliver Lives." It's helped me understand a bit more the journey that lay ahead for me. You see, I'm a 28 year old gay guy. I've lived through some halcyon days of hedonism and beauty. These things may seem shallow, but as your character Mouse understands, there's a lot of depth in that kind of shallowness for a nice Southern boy from a religious family.

This last half of my 20's, though, has greeted me with an unrelenting thickening of
...more
Alex
I know that an exclamation mark would be hyperbolic, but I think that, after an 18 year absence, "Michael Tolliver Lives!" is an appropriate title. Abandoned by his author in 1989, Michael Tolliver has been up to a lot in his absence. This wasn't originally going to be a Tales of the city book, but Maupin realised that Michael Tolliver was the perfect vehicle for an ageing gay man.

This explains why it's written in the first person, and how everything seems to grow organically from that original
...more
Kiwi
I haven't read TotC, somehow. I suppose I was so busy in my youth finding every lesbian book I possibly could that I missed this series. Reading the summaries in the back of my version of the book were interesting, I suppose, but none of them quite called to me the way this book did (not that I won't read them anyway one of these days).

I've got pages marked in the book and I'm sure I meant to look at them as I worked on a personal review, but as is often the case when I get to it, I am feeling l
...more
Eowyn
It was nice to revisit many of the Tales of the City characters and find out what happened to them, but the story was kind of dull. I liked it more as it went along and was a little bit moved by the end, but it certainly doesn't have much of the exuberant energy and charm of the first few books. I can remember just devouring the first three books--this was just a pleasant diversion. Sure all the characters are middle-aged now but does this mean they have to be boring and not have wacky times any ...more
Kivrin Engle
Through-out the 80s, I devoured the first six Tales of the City books, while in my 20's, and mostly while living in San Francisco. I first came across part of the series through the Chronicle, where Maupin wrote serialized installments of "Tales". I went on to read Maybe The Moon, skipped The Night Listener and forgot about the world of 28 Barbary Lane until recently, with the publication of The Days of Anna Madrigal. I had some spaces to fill in, so I picked up a copy of Michael Tolliver Lives ...more
Paul Jr.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alline
As a San Francisco Bay Area native, the Tales of the City books are like a slice of home, and of my adolescence, a wild carnival ride of everything that was happening the Bay Area in that chunk of time. While "Michael Tolliver Lives" feels somewhat less-fulfilling than the other books, with a lot more sex and a lot less action, it also reflects the characters' aging. Life at 60 is a lot different than it was at 20. Unfortunately, it still feels a bit like Mr. Maupin has phoned in the pages, or w ...more
Mark Farley
I am very much a fan of Maupin's Tales of the City series after being introduced to the ground-breaking range of gay fiction by my girlfriend (of all people) a few years ago, especially as one of the books (albeit partly) is set in our very own leafy suburb.I had seen the TV show based upon the first book in the early nineties but had never associated the adventures of Barbary Lane in San Francisco to the novel series at all until I started in the rock n'roll world of bookselling, a few years ag ...more
Dan
Michael Tolliver Lives is the rare book that I finished in one day. I think it's partly because I took a break from the series after Sure of You, and was so happy to be back among friends.

Unlike the previous six, this one is in the first person, and pretty much restricted to Michael's romance with the much younger Ben. The most graphic of the Tales books, Maupin fearlessly depicts the sex lives of older gay men here. I could see how some people would be squeamish reading about an intergeneration
...more
Sean Kennedy
I was so excited when I heard that TOTC would be continuing, and maybe anything would be disappointing living up to such a huge cultish reputation - but there is no denying that this book is. Michael Tolliver has basically morphed into a not-so-cunningly-disguised version of Maupin himself - and the character suffers for it. Once again, characters are killed off page, and we see more interesting characters sacrificed for more bland replacements. Plus, not wanting to sound prudish, but there's a ...more
Charles Eliot
The project is done! In just over three weeks I re-read the six original Tales of the City books, so I could read the first sequel, Michael Tolliver Lives. And it was entirely worth it.

Over the years Armistead Maupin has moved from being a witty observer of social life, willing to speak to hedonism of all sorts - gay, straight, trans, bi, etc - to being a Lazurus-like guide to the inner lives of gay men. In Michael Tolliver Lives he takes on the subject of the aging HIV-positive man. Plenty of e
...more
Linda
The seventh book in the Tales of the City series was a long time in coming. This was a gentler book than the last one. The book focuses on the story through the eyes of Michael, now 55. Anna, Brian and Mary Ann all make their appearances and Mona gets mentioned though she has died prior tot he book's start. We also meet some new characters, Michael's husband, Ben, 21 years his junior. We meet Jake, Michael's part-time employee.

Though this lacks the whacky, endearing craziness of the first few bo
...more
Sergio Caredda
Un ritorno in grande stile Ci sono dei libri che leggi come se stessi trovando dei vecchi amici dopo tanto tempo. Ed stata questa limpressione ritrovando, dopo tanto tempo, Michael Tolliver Mouse in una San Francisco finalmente riportata ai giorni nostri. E gli altri personaggi, come Brian, o limmancabile Anna Madrigal, la Signora di Barbary Lane. E bench Armistead Maupin, lautore gay pi letto al mondo, neghi che questo sia il settimo volume della serie Tales of the City (Racconti di San Franci ...more
Jackie
A fun return to several beloved characters from 28 Barbary Lane! Really fun to listen to while driving, too.
Robert
The original Tales of The City books from the 70’s were great satirical soap opera - among the most addictive fiction I’ve ever read - and the 1993 miniseries based on the first book was just brilliantly done. But I’d hated the 6th book, Sure of You, originally meant as the series finale in 1989, in which the original Tales heroine, Mary Ann Singleton, was bewilderingly transformed into a cold, selfish bitch, while the HIV-positive hero, Michael Tolliver, was basically living under a death sente ...more
Em
I read the original Tales of City books in my early 20s and re-read them all about ten years later, the characters in Armistead Maupins series feel a bit like old friends to me. I was delighted to find a further book re-visiting Michael Tolliver at the grand age of 55. I enjoyed the book which was touching and funny in equal measure and I was pleased to have a rare opportunity to find out what happens to the characters after the last book.
Bev
Anybody who has followed Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City will know at once that Michael Tolliver was one of the central characters in that classic series of books. It's now 25 years later, Michael is living with AIDS (as opposed to "dying of AIDS" in earlier books). He's in a stable relationship. Mary Anne is off in New York with her new husband and her ex, Brian, is still in San Francisco raising their daughter, Shawna, who is about to embark on a writing career. The book brings you up to ...more
Raina Madison
Oh, there be SPOILERS here.

I think most of what can be said about the 7th Tales of the City book has been said except I simply have to touch on something that I feel no one else has really put out there. To me this book should have been called;

Micheal Tolliver lives! Mona Ramsey Dies.

I've always latched on to certain characters in particular constructed fictitious worlds as if they were my own established friends. The one I latched onto most strongly in Maupins 'Tales' was Mona Ramsey. For me s
...more
Mary
I am really frustrated with all of the dramatic happenings offscreen - most notably to Mona (seriously?) but also the swift dispatching of Thack, to whom I had grown pretty attached. It is only my deep love for Mouse that keeps me reading these things at this point.
Other thoughts:
- unlike a lot of other reviewers, I actually didn't mind the shift to first person and an all-Michael focus. I'm sure he's turning into a bit of a Mary Sue, but I love him and I don't even care.
- Maupin introduces ano
...more
Derek Bridge
So I set myself the task of re-reading the earlier Tales of the City novels, and getting up-to-date with the series. And this, for me, is the next installment. For many readers, this one is the one they love least. Unlike the other novels, it is a first-person narrative (with Tolliver as narrator), and maybe this is the problem. Inhabiting his head, we see more sides to this much-loved character, including his insecurities and, occasionally, his mean-spiritedness.

But I don't have the same emotio
...more
Amy
Growing older together

I am giving higher ratings because these characters resonate with me. Their stories remind me that we are on a journey and not just traveling to a destination
Torsten
Michael Tolliver lebt. 18 Jahre sind mittlerweile vergangen, aber Michael "Mouse" Tolliver lebt. Mittlerweile 55 Jahre alt, die Haare sind grau, der Bauch etwas größer geworden und er ist verheiratet mit dem 25 Jahre jüngeren Ben.
Die Barbary Lane 28 ist mittlerweile verweist - von der alten Gang lebt niemand mehr dort. Selbst die Übermutter und Vermieterin Anna Madrigal ist aus gesundheitlichen Gründen ausgezogen.
In diesem 7 Band der "Stadtgeschichten" erfahren wir, was in den letzten 19 Jahren
...more
Deidre
Nov 11, 2008 Deidre rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who doesnt mind gratyuitious gay sex
Just as good as the first one. Maupin created a lovely family and his latest installment reminds you why you fell in love with his characters in the first place.
Cat
Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, now a landscape designer, was a poor waif of a kid when he lived at 28 Barbary Lane with Anna Madrigal and the gang. He's now a 55-year-old married gay man with a much younger husband. He's also HIV positive and has been for years, swallowing retrovirals like they're going out of style. This is a sweet novel that brings readers up to date on Michael's life in San Francisco, what has happened to some of his friends, lovers and the former tenants of Barbary Lane. Fans of ...more
Sara Szmodis
When I read Armistead Maupin's books, I have hope for San Francisco--that it is possible to be a long-term dweller of The City, that it's possible to live there with Thanksgiving potlucks and vaporizing on the back porch, and being able to recount a lifetime's worth of events in the same place.

Michael Tolliver Lives is partly about that story--one of sticking and staying in a place that has and continues to change rapidly. It's also a story about arriving at middle age, despite what even you tho
...more
Lou
I alternately cried and laughed through this. It really makes me miss San Francisco.
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Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 19
...more
More about Armistead Maupin...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the City (9 books)
  • Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #1)
  • More Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #2)
  • Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #3)
  • Babycakes (Tales of the City, #4)
  • Significant Others
  • Sure of You (Tales of the City, #6)
  • Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City, #8)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City, #9)
Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #1) More Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #2) Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #3) Babycakes (Tales of the City, #4) Significant Others

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“Still, I gave her a call, wondering if she might have lost someone herself, but our talk was limited to the surreal events we’d just watched on television. A crisis does draw people together, but rarely for the right reason. The old wounds flare up again soon enough; the bond lasts no longer than the terror.” 0 likes
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