Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michael Tolliver Lives

Reading at home away from my old job and the three stooges is much more enjoyable! After 18 years Armistead Maupin returns to San Franscisco to revisit the life of Michael Tolliver in the novel "Michael Tolliver Lives" (277 pages). From the book jacket:

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 groundbreaking saga of San Francisco life, Maupin revisits his all-too-human hero, letting the 55-year-old gardener tell his story in his own voice.

Having survived the plague that took so many of his friends and lovers, Michael has learned to embrace the random pleasures of life, the tender alliances that sustain him in the hardest of times.
Michael Tolliver Lives follows its protagonist as he finds love with a younger man, attends to his dying fundamentalist mother in Florida, and finally reaffirms his allegiance to a wise octogenarian who was once his landlady.

Michael Tolliver Lives is a stand alone novel, accessible to old and new readers alike, a reassuring number of familiar faces appear along the way. As usual, the author's mordant wit and ear for pitch-perfect dialogue serve every aspect of the story—from the bawdy to the bittersweet. Michael Tolliver Lives is a novel about the act of growing older joyfully and the everyday miracles that somehow make that possible.

This may be one of my favorite books in the "Tales of the City" series from Maupin. Rediscovering a character I first came to know nearly 20 years ago was very gratifying. The writing was usual Maupin with a nice balance of humor and drama. Only the style, written this time from Michael's perspective, was the only real noticeable difference in the 18 years between books. The story brings us up to date with all the characters in the series for ill and good.

I have to admit that I was a little sad while reading this novel. I couldn't help feeling I've grown older with Michael with my own ups and downs over the last 20 years. The book was touching with a strong emphasis on family and how your family isn't necessarily by blood. I laughed out loud at several points and was moved to tears near the end, never a bad thing in a read. Highly recommended by "Tales of the City" fans and I think accessible to those who have never read the series.

"There is no fifth destination."

1 comment:

Dann said...

I too really enjoyed MT Lives!