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Mary Ann in Autumn

(Tales of the City #8)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  6,222 ratings  ·  724 reviews
A hilarious and touching new installment of Armistead Maupin's beloved Tales of the City series

Twenty years have passed since Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and child in San Francisco to pursue her dream of a television career in New York. Now a pair of personal calamities has driven her back to the city of her youth and into the arms of her oldest friend, Michael "Mo
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Harper
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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 ·  6,222 ratings  ·  724 reviews

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Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful conclusion to the series. (I assume it's the conclusion, only because it also concludes a dangling plotline from the first book.) The complete Tales of the City cycle is an astonishing one, good-humoured, great-hearted, and written with wit and humanity. Maupin makes you turn the pages because you care about the characters and you want to spend time with them, which may be the best way there is. ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Is "autumn" simply code for... a hysterectomy?!

Well, even if it's not, the beloved characters in Armistead Maupin's ol' San Fran are all getting pretty long in the tooth. On our last foray into the Tales of the City, Michael Tolliver gave us a 1st person account of his goings on. Very vanilla, very tepid. In this one, Maupin returns to the various narrative strand structure, and we all sigh one huge collective sigh of relief! It's back to the endearing interconnectedness of characters, the happ
So I made a big mistake with this book. I got this from the library not fully aware that it is the 8th in the series. So, I haven't read anything in the series and I started with the last book.

It took some time to get into the story. I love all the characters and the San Francisco setting. I enjoyed the Queer community so much. A lot happens in this story and I'm sure it would mean so much more if I had read everything preceeding it. I have seen the Tales of the City TV show a while back. I lov
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book can stand alone, but after reading the other 7 books in the series , over the years, I really enjoyed this one....hated to see it end....... I read another review that said they tired of the brand name references of things, but if you've read the other books, brand name dropping,and cultural references of the time period the books are set, was the norm,and part of their charm......
I long to feel the cool San Fransisco breezes off the bay while lounging on the porch of 28 Barbary Lane,
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I think for all of us who have lost our hearts in San Francisco through the pages of the Tales of the City books it is as though we are back in the arms of great friends when a new book comes out.

With such a long gap between ‘Sure of You’ and ‘Michael Tolliver Lives’ we were in for a real treat when just this Thursday ‘Mary Ann in Autumn’ was released.

I wanted to get my copy of the book somewhere special, where it is welcomed with the knowledge of it’s place in our history, where it meant some
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Michael Tolliver lives! … Again!
A three year gap is significantly less than eighteen years. On top of that, this is the first Tales of the City book that I have read contemporaneously. Do you have any idea how strange it is to shift from Maupin speaking to people who predate me to him speaking directly to me, the world in which I’m living? It’s a stretch.

I think that Tales of the City books work best as capsules of their time, which of course means, except for Sure of You, they improve with age
Amanda Bynum
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Part of the magic of the Tales of the City series is how timeless the distance can be; reading the books now is sort of like taking part in a time travel vacation, where you're going to a new place AND a different time. But Mary Ann in Autumn loses some of the because it's so timely - Mary Ann shouldn't be on Facebook, Shawna shouldn't have a blog, Ben (who's Ben?) shouldn't shop at "Whole Paycheck." But I wonder if someone reading this book thirty years from now would feel the same way about it ...more
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Such a satisfying read! There just aren’t enough books in this series- in fact, Maupin just hasn’t written enough books! This was a perfect revisit of the gang and it was wonderful to see how their lives have played out.
Richard Derus
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Book Report: At fifty-seven, Mary Ann Singleton Hawkins Caruthers has blown up her life again and come running back to the loving, welcoming arms of Mouse Tolliver, her first friend in San Francisco. The catch is, Mouse is now happily married to thirtysomething bear-daddy fancier Ben, who is less than enthralled with Mrs. Caruthers. Considering the dual crises buffeting Mary Ann, she feels entitled to come on in and set a spell anyway, and thus the plot starts moving. Mary Ann's crises, one ...more
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Still with the deftly interwoven plots of the other "Tales" books, but with a bitter-sweet quality. Just like in life, some of the well-loved characters are dead, some moved away and all are growing older, without the newer characters really integrating to form a new cohesion. Once Anna Madrigal shuffles off this mortal coil, the "Tales" books will probably inevitably die with her.

After re-reading this book, consecutively with all the other "Tales" books, I have had to revise my rating to 5 star
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
As an ardent fan of the Tales series since they appeared, this was a book I wish I hadn't bothered to read. While Michael Tolliver Lives got by on that feel of a "reunion special", and gave the reader a chance to reflect on what was different and what was the same about queer life two decades apart, Mary Ann in Autumn has nothing similar to offer.

What made the earlier books so wonderful was Maupin's ability to combine over the top melodrama with relationships that had a real emotional resonance
Aug 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
There is almost no way to talk about this without spoilers, so I am going to be as vague as vague can be. But oh, my dear Mr. Maupin, what a lovely present you have given us, all tied up with neat little bows- all of those dangling ends from the original series, so pretty!

Where Michael Tolliver Lives was a benediction, a book I couldn't read three pages of without weeping, this is a hearkening back to the bad old days of the Chronicle serial, with odd, unbelievable plot twists that make a person
Paul Jr.
Barbary Lane Lives On

It’s a complete coincidence that I ended up in San Francisco just days before Mary Ann in Autumn, Armistead Maupin’s latest installment of the Tales of The City series, was released. The trip was planned well before I ever knew the release date of the novel, but once I learned of the close proximity of the two events, my trip to the Bay Area transformed into a pilgrimage of sorts to Maupin’s endearing and iconic works, Mrs. Madrigal, Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, and all the den
From BBC radio 4:
Episode One
Mary Ann returns to San Francisco with some big news to share with Michael.

Episode Two
Mary Ann begins to adapt to life with Michael and Ben. Jake meets a new man at Pier 39.

Episode Three
Mary Ann heads up to Pinyon Canyon with Michael and Ben for some time-out before her operation. Encouraged by Mrs Madrigal, Jake takes a chance on Jonah.

Episode Four
DeDe accompanies Mary Ann to her surgery. Jake makes a big decision.

Episode Five
Mary Ann has an unwelcome encounter with
Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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 br ...more
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have such affection and nostalgia for the Tales of the City books and the subsequent mini-series so much so that when I was in NYC this fall, it was a no-brainer that I would see Laura Linney in a play just to see "Mary Ann" in-person. So when I opened the book (well, okay clicked onto the screen) and saw that Armistead Maupin had dedicated this volume to Linney, he pretty was going to have to do something abominable to make me not love this book. The book quickly took me back into the lives o ...more
I went into this book with so many expectations and was not disappointed. It was nice to be back in the third person, roving perspectives, multiple story lines land that I loved so much about the rest of the series. I missed Brian quite a bit, but I can understand why Maupin had him off driving from National Park to National Park for the duration of the novel (not dead, thank goodness, but alive in an RV); he did tend to steal focus from Mary Ann, and this is firmly her book. She's also complete ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Happily for me, Maupin is pretty much back in form with this 8th installment of the Tales of the City chronicles. I didn’t really like the previous book, Michael Tolliver Lives; it was too much Michael and his perfect husband and not enough of the cray-cray of the earlier books.

In Mary Ann in Autumn, fan favorite Mary Ann, who was MIA in the last book, is reunited with her Mouse when she leaves her life in New York behind and returns to San Francisco. But will she be able to reconnect with the
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I adore Maupin’s “Tales of the City!” It was so fun to catch up with my friends from Barberry Lane, even though they no longer live there. I hate to admit it, but Mary Ann Singleton was the character I related to most when I first started reading these stories. Although 8 years apart in age, I started reading this series when I first moved into the big city, so I could relate to the whole small town kid moves to town thing. I was also working at the MN AIDS Project at the time, so was learning m ...more
Nicolas Chinardet
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This lastest instalment of the series feels like a return to the original formula of Tales of the City. After a slight departure from this with Michael Tolliver Lives, Maupin has again used one of his slightly unbelievable thriller-type plots to give a stage to the characters we love. The mystery part of the book is very predictable but that's not really the reason why we read those books. Possibly not the best of the series. ...more
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Damn, this guy always surprises me with those endings
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Mary Ann Singleton is back in San Francisco (from Connecticut) after two personal calamities have knocked her off course. She had fled the city twenty years before, to escape a bad marriage; she left her adopted daughter behind as well.

Now she is staying with two old friends, Michael Tolliver and his partner Ben, hoping to sort out the mess of her life in the nurturing comfort provided by friendship.

The story reveals an intriguing cast of characters that includes Michael and his business partner
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have been a fan of Maupin's "Tales of the City" series since the very first tale was serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle a bazillion years ago. I was thrilled when "Tales" was first published in book form and have followed each subsequent book as it has been published (I think I read three of them in serialized version in the Chronicle). This latest book does not disappoint.

All the major characters are back, all older now. Mary Ann is pushing 60 and has returned from New York to be with
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Mary Ann in Autumn" is the penultimate book in the nine-volume "Tales of the City" series, and it demonstrates how much Armistead Maupin has grown as a writer over a thirty-year period. "Tales of the City," the first book, was a jokey, rather thin narrative, but Maupin has learned how to write a book that has a lot more meat on its bones. The style of "Mary Ann in Autumn" is maturely seriocomic, the characterization is deft and economical, and the emotional climaxes are carefully prepared and d ...more
Emilia P
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-books
Ugh. It is like coming home, and I hate hate hate hate hate when it is over. This book was not as emotionally wrenching, to my memory, as Michael Tolliver Lives, and that was a-ok. But, as my daddy put it the "gothic" element really came back and rushed in and was wonderful and I was reading it in a bathtub in a lonely creaky house and it was a little terrifying.

This book make me laugh out loud, catch my breath, and squeal every few pages without being painful, existential or anything but, well,
Michael Conlon
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Why is it that I always feel a little sad when I finish reading a Maupin book? Maupin reminds me very much of Dickens. He has these wonderful intricate, episodic plots that make you want to keep racing ahead. But it is his characters more than anything that make Maupin's books so wonderful. Maupin, like Dickens, has the rare talent for creating these wonderful characters who are all too human with their secret flaws and fears they are afraid to reveal. And if you've read all of the Tales of the ...more
Robert Starner
Ah bliss to be back with the folks from Barbary Lane. Maupin still imbues his characters and his city with all the delights, humor, happenstance, mystic, and mystery that was prevalent in his previous Tales of City books. Mary Ann has returned to the city after being on the East Coast for way too long. Strife brings her to seek support from Michael and DeeDee and the homecoming in heartfelt, though the passages. Maupin's sparse and lighthearted style is as strong and as capitivating as ever. My ...more
Shannon Appelcline
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember being particularly impressed with Tolliver's other new Tales book, Michael Tolliver Lives, but Mary Ann in Autumn was much better.

On the one hand, I'd not particularly thrilled to be reading these books about young characters that I enjoyed now moving into (and beyond) middle age. I'd prefer to remember them as forever young in a way that only fictional characters can be. Despite that, I can't help myself from reading the newest.

And Mary Ann in Autumn was worth it. It returns no
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
One doesn't turn to Armistead Maupin for the intense thrill of a detective novel, but rather for the warmth of familiar company. Reading Mary Ann in Autumn is like visiting with old friends: the years may have changed them, but they're still there, still living and loving and making mistakes. The plot twists are predictable and the wealth of history behind each character makes it hard to keep afloat of recent developments, but then the expectation isn't to be surprised but rather to find the com ...more
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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)
  • Michael Tolliver Lives (Tales of the City, #7)
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City, #9)

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