Erik's Reviews > Mary Ann in Autumn

Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin
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Dec 26, 10

Read in December, 2010

Reading the eighth and latest installment in Maupin’s Tales of the City series reminds me of two things. First that I’m getting older. And second of being in my early twenties as that’s when I first discovered this whimsical work of realism set initially in the late 70s and early 80s San Francisco. (The last two books set in this first decade of the twenty-first century.) By extension on this second count, I’m also reminded of my first exploration of the city by the bay at the same time as my brother had just moved there as I embarked on Maupin’s books.

Although this is a slight improvement upon the rather lackluster Michael Tolliver Lives – the first three books are the best in the series, as they individual revolve around some shocking secrets that play out like classic mystery/thrillers (no surprise, there have been many comparisons between the first book and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo) – but there is a nice plotline that underlies Mary Ann’s return to the city that harkens back to an unresolved mystery that ended the book that started it all, Tales of the City itself. (And that’s about as much of a spoiler

As for the potential for more tales, I’m not entirely convinced the younger cast that have emerged in these two most recent books can or will sustain my interest – Shawna, Otto, Jake, and Ben – but I’ll probably hit up the next TotC book, if there will be another, on rainy day. Even better: Might I suggest Maupin stick with his self-contained novels – like Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener – as they have show Maupin at his narrative best, with their tightly woven plots and brilliant characterization. (No surprise, The Night Listener was made into a creepy and unnerving thriller starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.)

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Linda I think the newer characters are snoozeville... I've just written a review and totally forgot Shawna and Otto were in the book at all as they were so dull!


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