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Sure of You (Tales of the City #6)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  5,696 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews

A fiercely ambitious TV talk show host finds she must choose between national stardom in New York and a husband and child in San Francisco. Caught in the middle is their longtime friend, a gay man whose own future is even more uncertain. Wistful and compassionate, yet subversively funny, Sure of You could only come from Armistead Maupin.

Paperback, 284 pages
Published 1991 by Black Swan (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 06, 2015 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's testament to the writer's insatiable wit that the last volume in the Tales of the City Chronicles ends with the main protagonists (Mary Ann, Mona, Ana Madrigal, Brian and Michael) at the forefront, no new characters added (Michael's boyfriend was added in the previous, and less successful of the novels, "Significant Others"; plus a returning character from book II stirs up the p(l)ot). We get to down to the basic blocks, the glue that has kept all these characters in each other's company in ...more
Nov 27, 2007 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, gays and lesbians
Shelves: gay, fiction
This was my least favorite book of the series (I haven't read Michael Tolliver Lives! yet), and I have to say that the only reason I don't give this book one star is because I really love the overall series and - like it or not - this novel wrapped it up.

Over the course of the series, Maupin slowly abandoned Mary Ann as the "voice" of the series in favor of Michael; as a gay man writing about the often hedonistic world of San Francisco, this made sense and allowed Maupin to describe that world i
Laura Grable
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here is where Maupin starts to get all sentimental on us - and I just love it! We also get what the "Tales" books have never had before - a villian that we can boo and hiss at. And what do you know? It's Mary Ann! The book is a wonderful study in how relationships change and how we all develop over time. The Mary Ann in this book seems a million miles away from the young ingenue that we met in "Tales 1" and yet she IS one and the same. Michael really comes into his own in this book too; no longe ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite one, so far. It's also the shortest, but Maupin packs in a lot of pathos. There's a new level of poignancy and maturity here. It's still a funny and fun read, but this is decidedly a political novel, embodied by Michael's lover Thack. Sure of You definitely moved me. I was tearing up when Michael thought he'd developed KS - don't worry, that's not a spoiler, especially considering the title of the next book in the series.

I was glad to see Mona played a sizable role here. For
Jun 08, 2016 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Armistead Maupin published the first Tales novel in 1978, and the sixth was published in 1989. Of course, he has written a few in the last couple of years, but I am going to hold off on reading them for now (although I own them).

Overall, I am glad I read these novels. I had been meaning to read them for years, and I'm thankful Fenella picked the first one for our book club. They made for quick, entertaining stories. I grew to know and care about the core characters in these six novels, and it sa
Miles Oliver
Jun 01, 2012 Miles Oliver rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Easily the most depressing of all the books (so far). To think that this was considered the end to the series for so many years is something of a let-down. Although I didn't care for Babycakes nearly as much as the others, at least the first five novels were filled with quirky storylines and inventive plot devices. Sure of You is almost too realistic for the general tone of Maupin's work. The biggest let-down was the total decompensation of Mary Ann into the antithesis of the heroinne that she w ...more
Julia Putnam
I cannot stress enough how much I hate Mary Ann. There were several times when I had to put the book down because I was so mad at her. I guess that means the writings good? I just question making the supposed lead character unbearable . Michael is still amazing and makes me cry. I like Brian too and I hate that he loves Mary Ann despite what a b***h she is. Not my favorite for sure. Hopefully we won't have to deal with her in the next book.
Jan 19, 2012 Selina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd read every book of this series from tales of the city right through to the latest, Mary Ann in Autumn, except for THIS one and heard that many fans of the series were disappointed or horrified at the turn of events - it all seemed to happen in this book, where Mary Ann turned into a complete b*tch, leaving her husband and adopted daughter behind to pursue fame and fortune in New York City.

This installment doesn't really have enough going for it to stand on it's own as a book apart from the
May 16, 2007 Rory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book in original cannon has grown on me sine I first read it years ago. Each of the many characters in the series gets a cameo in the story--with the exception of about three--from Connie to Prue and it gives a sense of who and what might been down the road.

Rereading the series and this book gave me a greater sense of how and why Maupin did what he did with the story. Even though I still wihs for better happy ending for the characters, part of the theme of the book is growing up and le
This was the last book in the original Tale of the City series. Published in 1990, it ends the series on a depressing note. It's good that I have now Michael Toliver Lives to look forward to because if the series had really ended with this one. I would be a little pissed. Nothing is really resolved for anyone. Mary Ann and Brian's marriage explodes, their kid is a brat, Michael and Thack are happy together but with the AIDS sword over their heads with a false or not alarm that Michael has develo ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2012 Marco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, lgbt
The familiar Barbary Lane's characters are back, a little older. Reading this book feels like a high school re-union, where familiar faces trigger powerful memories, and we are faced with the realization that those time are gone, and time flew by. Michael moved to the Castro with his partner, living what would be a great life if not for the HIV virus in his blood. Mrs Madrigal and her daughter Mona travel to the Greek islands, and Mary Ann is given a great work opportunity that may strain her re ...more
Nov 19, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, the last installment of the Tales of the City/Back to Barbary Lane series. How many books was this? Six? Eight? Maupin is witty, entertaining, caustic and talented. If you love the irreverence and eccentricity of San Francisco and its inhabitants, Maupin is your man. His characters are memorable and grow on you. Each successive entry charts their progress (or decine). The spectre of AIDS (a topic Maupin was intimately familiar with) looms in the background. But he crazy eclectic mix of ...more
Sean Kennedy
Nov 21, 2010 Sean Kennedy rated it liked it
What was then the final part of the Tales city ends on a downer as Maupin totally destroys one character so that Michael Tolliver becomes the 'heart' of the series. The downfall of Mary Ann Singleton never comes across as realistic or believable to me - she seems to jump from likable to raging arsehole between books. Once again, the author leaves it to the reader to fill in the blanks, as it were.

In the end, this book seems rather bitter. It's not that I mind characters developing and changing -
Oct 28, 2016 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the fact that nothing much happens in this book yet in another way, everything does. It held my interest largely because of the quality of the dialogue. Maupin is a master at making people real, it could be a series of tapes of actual conversations. The emotions are spot on, the characters keenly observed.
Took me back to the 80s and the height of the AIDS epidemic. Is that KS? How many T cells do you have? It is a language of another age. Can't wait to read more of this master.
Jul 29, 2013 Sonja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
reading tales of the city is like laying in a giant blanket fort with all your favourite people and eating lots of candy. i just love these books so much!
as others have noted, mary-ann has changed a lot since the beginning of the series and i really couldn't stand her in this one.
michael remains the best.
David Schwan
The weakest book in the series. We continue to see the lives of a shrinking group of people, yet the author continues to mirror key issues of the time. Aids looms large yet relationships are built in spite of it.
Jan 31, 2017 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less scandalous and far-fetched than previous books in the series, but still a delight to read. It really focuses on a few of the well known characters rather than adding newbies into the mix. Just so very readable :)
Beth Casey
Nov 06, 2016 Beth Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been years since I started the Tales of the City series. This was like visiting long-lost friends. Maupin's characters don't fade with time.
Catherine Bateson
Feb 06, 2017 Catherine Bateson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun read in the Tales of the City series. Interesting to not how serialisation influences a book's structure.
A strangely hard note to end on, the last in the series (or last for nearly 20 years) is a measure of distance travelled, of cultural history measured in friendships and lovers. Tales started out in the 70s, in the cultural comedown after the 60s, of the weird and relentlessly hopeful city of San Francisco. It ends in the late 80s, with yuppyism and AIDS and the dissolution of marriages and the estrangement of friendships.

The centre of the action really is Mary Ann who has really become a utterl
Tex Reader
Nov 03, 2013 Tex Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbtq, romance-life
4.0 of 5 stars – Good Closure to What Was Initially a 6-Book Series.

This series (at the time being just the first 6 books) was recommended to me when I first came out. By then it had rightfully become for Armistead Maupin a classic in gay literature. I’m glad to say that it became a favorite series of mine as well; and even though this sixth one fell short of ending the initially six-book series with a bang, it was still good and continued to build the story.

This sixth one definitely had less qu
Aug 22, 2015 Steven rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was originally intended to be the last of the "Tales of the City" series until Armistead Maupin had a change of heart and, after a lapse of 18 years, wrote three more books beginning with "Michael Tolliver Lives." "Sure of You" has the feeling of a finale, but it is perhaps the least satisfying and bleakest book of the six I have read. Reflective of the time in which it was written -- the end of the 1980s -- it embodies the anxiety, depression, and exhaustion of the gay community over HIV/A ...more
My 2013 re-read of the original Tales of the City series comes to end with Sure of You and for majority of the time, I felt it was going to end with the proverbial whimper and not a bang. And while it was bang-less -- in the figurative and literal sense (the characters are getting older!) -- it still left me with a wistful feeling of having spent time with good friends.

That said, it did feel like they overstayed their welcome or that Maupin was getting a bit fatigued with it all as well. I never
Raina Madison
Apr 19, 2014 Raina Madison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-shelf
This morning I finished the last book in Maupins original 'Tales of The City' saga and I'm a bit of a glorious mental mess about it. The author wouldn't continue the lives of these characters for a very long time so I'm glad I waited until he had written the last book (this year) before starting this epic. Maybe this volume is just misunderstood? To peruse the reviews I can only think that the low ratings and negative comments are due to the fact that this was indeed an end, at the time, to a 20 ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Mar 19, 2012 Nathan Burgoine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
Great Lines: "So what if the world was fucked? There were ways to get around that, if you didn't make yourself a total slave to rage."
...and: "All we've got is now, I guess. But that's all anybody gets. If we wasted time being scared..."

The tales series wraps up in this book without wrapping the characters up in an unnaproachable way. You get the feeling that Michael will still be working at his nursery tomorrow, that Mary Ann's television show is just on in a few minutes, and that Thack will st
Charles Eliot
Jul 17, 2014 Charles Eliot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favorite "Tales in the City" novel, despite being the most painful in some ways. The trio of characters who seemed so bonded in earlier novels here find a host of real-world issues and personality clashes -- ambition, illness, lethargy, anger, and escape -- that leave some relationships broken and others strengthened.

The key story here is Mary Anne's finally surrender to her ambition. When an opportunity to move on from San Francisco and her family comes up, it's not a question of w
Anne Claire
Anniversaire 26 ans - Par Laurent

28, Barbery-Lane-street, une adresse devenue mythique pour tous les fans d'Armistead Maupin. Livre apr��s livre, l'auteur a construit sa petite com��die humaine, "sa sitcom litt��raire" dans les rues de San Francisco. On y retrouve la petite famille ��pousset��e des ann��es soixante-dix, pr��te �� prendre le virage des scintillantes eighties. Finie la communaut�� ��rotico-baba : Mary Ann est devenue une pr��sentatrice de t��l�� en vogue, Brian, 44 ans, travaille
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Armistead Maupin ...: Sure of You 1 1 Oct 27, 2014 06:12PM  
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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 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
  • Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City, #7)
  • Mary Ann in Autumn (Tales of the City, #8)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City, #9)

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“Thack seemed to sort something out for a moment.
“Sometimes I watch him when he’s playing with Harry or digging in the yard. And I think: This is it, this is the guy I’ve waited for all my life. Then this other voice tells me not to get used to it, that it’ll only hurt more later. It’s funny. You’re feeling this enormous good fortune and waiting for it to be over at the same time.”
“You seem happy,” Brian ventured.
“I am.”
“Well … that’s a lot. I envy you that.”
Thack shrugged. “All we’ve got is now, I guess. But that’s all anybody gets. If we wasted that time being scared …”
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