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Michael Tolliver Lives

(Tales of the City #7)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  7,446 ratings  ·  692 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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Dan'l I am not sure. My recollection is that the earlier Tales volumes only mention his parents.

One of the things I love about this book in particular is h…more
I am not sure. My recollection is that the earlier Tales volumes only mention his parents.

One of the things I love about this book in particular is how it offers a redemptive view of Michael's mother, and heals their relationship.(less)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  7,446 ratings  ·  692 reviews

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Aug 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So perhaps this is not number seven 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 ...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
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
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
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
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
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
Mark Hiser
The world changes in direct proportion to the number of people willing to be honest about their lives. ----Armistead Maupin

Though different from the previous six novels in point of view, structure, and tone (at the time of publication Maupin said Michael Tolliver Lives is “NOT a sequel to Tales [of the City] and it's certainly not Book 7 in the series)” most fans still saw it as Book 7. I am one of those even though it is not necessary to have read the previous six novels.

Michael Tolliver Lives
Dennis Holland
Jun 21, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Tolliver Lives in my head as my boyfriend. Book 7 in this lovable series brings us even closer together—written in the first person for the first time by Michael Tolliver himself—and no matter how much time passes, he is forever dancing in his underpants.

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. ...more
Richard Derus
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quiltbag
Real Rating: 3.5* of five

 As I've grown older, I've learned that pleasures aren't always better when shared:
Over the next eight years, almost without noticing, I arrived at a quiet revelation. You could make a home by yourself. You could fill that home with friends and friendly strangers without someone sleeping next to you. You could tend your garden and cook your meals and find predictable pleasure in your own autonomy.
Still, I gave her a call, wondering if she might have lost someone her
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. ...more
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
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
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was phenomenal. There were times when I had to put the book down because I was crying too hard to read, and other times when it got put down so that I could stop laughing. This was an amazing come back to Michael Tolliver. ...more
Robin Reynolds
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Carlos Mock
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Tolliver Lives: A Novel Book 7 in The Tales of the City Saga by Armistead Maupin

"The only difference between comedy and tragedy is where you end the story." p. 251

The first thing to know about the book is that it's 18 years after book 6. The second is that it's written from the first-person point of view - the first time Maupin uses this form of narration.

We're in the middle of the AIDS pandemic, the only difference is that men are now surviving and living with it as a chronic disease: "
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.
Alex Vogel
This was as charming read, mostly light-hearted despite the melancholy undertones. The transitory and fleeting quality of life felt like the underlying topic of the book.

Michael Tolliver, the 55-year old main protagonist, is easy to warm up to. The writing is engaging and effortless. It's a bitter-sweet story that celebrates the 'chosen family' as opposed to the 'biologicals'. It has an autobiographical and positively mundane feel. I found it quite funny at times and quite comforting. I liked h
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think this might be my favourite in the series, and makes up for how things ended off with “Sure of You” (book #6).

“Michael Tolliver Lives” has been able to bring together everything that’s happened - the good and the terrifying - over the last 6 volumes and a timeline that spans San Fran’s evolution from the 1970s to 2007.

Considering that book #6 was supposed to be the official end, this volume also does an excellent job of resetting the storyline for the “extended” ending in the final two b
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, favorites
Even though it was completely different from the rest of the series, It was one of the best books the series.

The story being told from a single characters point of view this time made things feel more intimate than in the earlier books and made things ike Micheal and Mary Ann's reunion or the hospital scenes at the end feel much more real.
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The Great America...: Michael Tolliver Lives - Buddy Read 3 15 Nov 26, 2020 08:01AM  
Play Book Tag: Michael Tolliver Lives / Armistead Maupin - 3*** 3 13 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 3 69 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)

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“You don’t have to keep up, dear. You just have to keep open.” 4 likes
“Over the next eight years, almost without noticing, I arrived at a quiet revelation. You could make a home by yourself. You could fill that home with friends and friendly strangers without someone sleeping next to you. You could tend your garden and cook your meals and find predictable pleasure in your own autonomy.” 1 likes
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