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Michael Tolliver Lives

(Tales of the City #7)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  6,111 ratings  ·  604 reviews

Michael Tolliver, the sweet-spirited Southerner in Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City series, is arguably one of the most widely loved characters in contemporary fiction. Now, almost twenty years after ending his ground-breaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the fifty-five-year-old gardener tell his story in his own

Hardcover, 277 pages
Published June 12th 2007 by Harper (first published 2007)
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3.92  · 
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 ·  6,111 ratings  ·  604 reviews

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Aug 16, 2015 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
Aug 30, 2007 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
Brandon Meredith
Jun 03, 2009 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
Apr 10, 2017 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
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
Jun 18, 2007 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
Kaje Harper
Sep 16, 2011 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
Faith Reidenbach
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
May 25, 2012 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

4,5 stars

Michael is one of my favorite gay characters not only within the series and I loved to meet/hear from him again.
Jul 17, 2008 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.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sean Kennedy
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Book Concierge
Audiobook read by the author.

Eighteen years after “finishing” his Tales of the City Series in 1989, Maupin returned to the beloved characters and gave readers a 7th installment. NOTE: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the first six books in the series When the series ended, Michael had been diagnosed as HIV positive. In the ‘80s this was still considered a death sentence, but advances in treatment changed that, hence the title.

Michael has a landscaping business and a new husband. He’s dealing w
It *is* a little weird to suddenly be in Michael's head after six books, but no weirder than anything else he's experiencing as an HIV-positive thirty-year resident of San Francisco. It made sense. And the plot made sense. I wanted more Mona still, and while I totally love Jake I'm not sold on Ben. But the story made me cry twice, and I really liked the character developments for the rest of Barbary Lane's erstwhile denizens, so that's enough for one installment, I'd say.
Jan 29, 2011 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
Kivrin Engle
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Andrew Chidzey
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How delightful to read this latest Tales volume while holidaying in San Francisco - this story focuses on my favourite character Michael aka Mouse. Michael has survived the AIDS plague that ravished his friends and the community and finally found love. The story has all the classic components of Maupin's joyful prose: familiar faces, highs, lows, drama and sabotage all set against the picturesque back drop of the city by the bay. I could read this series forever alas there are only two volumes r ...more
Robin Reynolds / October Woman
I loved the first five Tales of the City books, but the sixth book was a disappointment for me. I did not like the person Mary Ann had become after being a local celebrity went to her head. By the end of the book I quite actively disliked her. But this seventh book, set twenty years later, is about Michael, and was just as enthralling as the first five books.

Unlike previous books, this one is just Michael's story, and the narrative is even in first person, his point of view. Other characters ar
Paul Jr.
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
OMG, what happened to the sweet Mouse of the previous books? He got old, sure, but he also got BORING. I also don’t understand why this is told in the first person singular, none of the other books were…why? And how did Michael morph from twink to bear?

Sorry, but this book was dull. I don’t think that Maupin is the best wordsmith, but he did write some wicked stories that were just BONKERS. There is nothing really out there in this book: no cannibals, no militant lesbians, no mild mannered porn
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was really nice to go back and see what everyone was up to. Kind of made me want to go back and reread this series; maybe I'll just watch the shows again. Got a little tired of how he harped on being so old though. I don't see 55 as being that ancient, but maybe that's because I'm 51.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in the late 80s I got hooked on Armistead Maupin’s series ‘Tales of the City’ which followed the lives and loves of a group of friends and neighbours living in San Francisco. Published between 1978 and 1989 they were almost Dickensian in style with their short snappy chapters and serialised format, bouncing between a cast of very different characters and responding quickly to the zeitgeist. The series straddled an era when ‘The City’ was at the heart of a rapidly growing and deeply frighten ...more
Apr 30, 2014 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
Mark Farley
Jun 23, 2013 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
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 22, 2015 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
Oct 18, 2014 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
Sep 23, 2016 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
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Play Book Tag: Michael Tolliver Lives / Armistead Maupin - 3*** 3 11 Aug 14, 2018 08:33PM  
Armistead Maupin ...: MOUSE LIVES! AKA Michael Tolliver Lives 1 1 Oct 03, 2017 11:35AM  
Armistead Maupin ...: Michael Tolliver Lives 1 4 Oct 27, 2014 06:15PM  
There is no fifth destination 4 67 Aug 28, 2013 05:22AM  

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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

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 (Tales of the City, #5)
  • 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)
“You don’t have to keep up, dear. You just have to keep open.” 1 likes
“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
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