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Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City #7)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  5,332 Ratings  ·  560 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 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Fabian
Aug 16, 2015 Fabian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So perhaps this is not number 7 of the series. The writer certainly says it isn't. The novel concentrates solely on one member of that memorable crew of Bay Area misfits, the Sex and the City of Gay ol San Francisco: Michael Tolliver, the enigmatic and likable resident gay who is rather long in the tooth by now and is more settled in his ways (ironically, this one has the most explicit several-page sex scene of 'em all). I miss the others; the confetti-like Tales 1-6 had strands of plots all ran ...more
Linda
Apr 10, 2017 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read the "Tales of the City" books when I was in my 20s in Columbus, Ohio in the 1990s. I loved the books! Such quick, fun reads. I was not unfamiliar with the thriving gay community in Columbus, and I don't remember being shocked at anything in the books aside from some of the fun story twists.

Now, I live in the San Francisco Bay area and I'm in my 50s (like Michael, who was in his 20s in the early books and is now 53). I was choosing a book with an LGBT main character for my book bingo
...more
Mary
Aug 30, 2007 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynn G.
Really a 3.5.
I read this book, primarily, for two reasons: 1) it takes place in San Francisco, my home town, and 2)it matched the criterion for one of my reading challenges; being by or about someone who identifies as GLBT.

At turns raunchy, wry, poignant, and honest, Michael Tolliver Lives was unexpected. Initially, I wasn't drawn in by the story or the main character, Michael Tolliver. I also found the raunchiness quotient to be excessive. However, the more I read the more I was engaged with t
...more
Casey
Jun 18, 2007 Casey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adults
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
Kaje Harper
Sep 16, 2011 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, m-m

I always liked Mouse (Michael) in the Tales books and was so glad to find him here, thriving despite his HIV positive status that hung over him so dangerously in an earlier era. This book could be read alone, I believe, although the events of the past books certainly enrich it. This is a much more personal and intimate book than the Tales, written in the first person. It follows only Michael and not the full cast of characters, although many of them appear during the course of the book. I really
...more
Brandon Meredith
Jun 03, 2009 Brandon Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sidney
May 25, 2012 Sidney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Faith
Sep 05, 2008 Faith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Simon Jay
Apr 10, 2017 Simon Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where has Armistead Maupin been all my life!!! His prose is evokes the joys and community of San Francisco, generations of Queer lives, humanity, satire, polemic, observation and drama twist and turn on every page; delightful. I've already bought Tales of the City, and the last volume of the series too, I am evidently reading them in a mixed-up order!
Alex
Jan 29, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay
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
Karl
Feb 16, 2017 Karl rated it really liked it
It's not Shakespeare. But then sometimes neither is Shakespeare.
But it's familiar territory with old friends, friends who change, some for the better and some not so much. And some times friends, like ourselves, change along a horizontal line.

I read the first three books in my early twenties in the early eighties, playing catch up. Then as they released. So these are "people" I grew up with and learned from and helped give me an idea of the gay man I hoped to grow to be and whom I wanted to su
...more
Kivrin Engle
Jan 25, 2014 Kivrin Engle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gill
Jul 17, 2008 Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, month-07
Like catching up with an old friend, it's an uplifting visit to the City by the Bay.
Paul Jr.
Dec 29, 2008 Paul Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kiwi
Apr 30, 2014 Kiwi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, queer-book-club
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
Mark Farley
Jun 23, 2013 Mark Farley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2013 Dan rated it really liked it
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
Alline
Jan 21, 2013 Alline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bill
Oct 22, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always feel a bit sad when I start the last book in a series... yes, this is 7 out of 9, but I read just a wee bit out of order. Even knowing what happens in books 8 and 9, it was weird to think that this would be the last time I read about Michael, Anna, Brian, and old familiar characters, as well as Shawna, Jake, and Ben, the newer generation of characters. It's great that the new characters embody different perspectives on society (dating, relationships, and identity) without coming across ...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
Eowyn
Oct 18, 2014 Eowyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gtee
Sep 23, 2016 Gtee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gtee by: Grace Sanchez
The reason this took so long to read was this was a borrowed book and I had to read my Bookclub book first then 2 other library books that were due. This really is a quick read. First few chapters were TMI TMI TMI on all the sex stuff that goes on between 2 people. I don't consider myself a prude but I don't really need to know all the details - leave something to the imagination if you will...but once I got through that it was smooth sailing. Mr. Maupin does know how to "tell a tale" and it bro ...more
Charles Eliot
Jul 20, 2014 Charles Eliot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 18, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, fiction
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
Em
Feb 07, 2010 Em rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Adam Armstrong
Feb 13, 2017 Adam Armstrong rated it it was amazing
A leisurely paced tale of the sun setting on Michael's life, where each day a new reconciliation awaits. A meditation on the families we're born into and the families we choose, and the means by which they can harmoniously coexist, even if in differing proportions.
Deidre
Oct 23, 2008 Deidre rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Linda
Sep 06, 2009 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007-2008
goo wrap up of the City series
David Schwan
The series is winding down in this book. As in real life all of the characters are getting old. This book is in a sense the author's reflections on aging. At least one big surprise in here.
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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)

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“How old are you?” I hadn’t been asked this in a place of business since I was seventeen, when I tried, unsuccessfully, to buy a fifth of Jack Daniel’s at a liquor store across the highway from Mr. Grady’s gas station. It was just as unsettling to be carded at the other end of my life, for a fucking biscuit, no less, but I answered as civilly as possible. “I’m” 0 likes
“Who’s Sally Bowles?” asked Ben. I turned and looked at my younger, less theatrical half. “She used to be married to Ansel Adams.” “You’re kidding?” “Yes, I am,” I said. Jake” 0 likes
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