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Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel

Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel

Geschrieben von Armistead Maupin

Erzählt von Armistead Maupin


Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel

Geschrieben von Armistead Maupin

Erzählt von Armistead Maupin

Bewertungen:
4.5/5 (47 Bewertungen)
Länge:
7 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9780062007131
Format:
Hörbuch

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Beschreibung

"An enormously talented writer. . . . By writing about what's seemingly different, Armistead Maupin always manages to capture what's so hilariously, painfully true for all of us." -Amy Tan, author of The Bonesetter's Daughter

"Maupin writes with warmth, acuity and tremendous wit. . . . Read him." -Publishers Weekly

Following the success of his New York Times bestseller Michael Tolliver Lives, Armistead Maupin's Mary Ann in Autumn is a touching portrait of friendship, family, and fresh starts, as the City by the Bay welcomes back Mary Ann Singleton, the beloved Tales of the City heroine who started it all. A new chapter begins in the lives of both Mary Ann and Michael "Mouse" Tolliver when she returns to San Francisco to rejoin her oldest friend after years in New York City…the reunion that fans of Maupin's beloved Tales of the City series have been awaiting for years.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9780062007131
Format:
Hörbuch

Auch als verfügbar...

Auch als buch verfügbarBuch


Über den Autor

Armistead Maupin is the author of the nine-volume Tales of the City series, which includes Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn, and now The Days of Anna Madrigal. Maupin's other novels include Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener. Maupin was the 2012 recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation's Pioneer Award. He lives in San Francisco with his husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.

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  • (4/5)
    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 real and the other simply her drama queen self coming to the fore, cause some tensions in San Francisco; she doesn't have to deal with her ex-husband, but pretty much all the other Barbary Lane survivors show up and interact with her, though less so with each other. A bomb from the past shows up. A BIG bomb. The resolution of that dangling storyline from book 2 (More Tales of the City), I believe, is as messy as the original ending was tidy...though both were very *purses lips* tidy-tidy in their own ways. A fitting end to this book, though, clearing the decks for Mary Ann to return to the fold. And so set us up for another book.My Review: Maupin's trademark suds; if you like it (and I do), you'll like this latest entry in the "Tales" saga. I wondered as I wandered if some of these plots were strictly speaking *necessary*, but honestly I felt so smoothly engulfed and solicitously engaged by the mother-henning of Maupin's consistently high quality writing about these dear and familiar and aging, even becoming elderly and frail, characters that, well, I checked my coincidence-flensing knife at the door. I missed it a few times, but at the door it stayed.I'm growing older. I find that fact reasonably agreeable most of the time, except that every once in a way I feel left out of the storytelling that makes younger people sit up and take notice. Usually it's because I've been there and done that and even have the copyright-1975 book to prove that this NEW! NOW! HAPPENIN! trope is recycled. But even the Bible is new to someone who's never read it before. And the fact is, sometimes old familiar faces are more fun to spend time with. So novelty palls, failing to be novel anymore. But the solid, tried-and-true tropes of a series of books about a group of people who remind me of me learning and groping for meaning and relevance in a world that disconcertingly looks a lot like mine but is very *un*like it in some key ways strikes a welcome chord in me.And, like my own life, Maupin injects new people into his characters' ambits, most all of them younger, most all of them groping and seeking in ways that we *think* we'll outgrow. Reading this book, I'm soothed to realize I'm not the only one who hasn't stopped groping and seeking...and that not only is that okay, but it's a large part of the reason new friendships are possible. A worhty take-away from this warm, cozy fireplace read of a book.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first book I have read in the Tales of the City series, and I enjoyed the style and characterisation very much. I also found it an interesting snapshot of American society. This book was published in 2010, and the variety if perspectives and desires in a rather stratified society was intriguing. The winding-up at the end of the story was very neat but unlitmately satisfying. I'd like to read some of the earlier books now to see how the characters have developed over time.
    Although I had never met these folk before, I was easily able to get into the story and work out the complex relationships because of the clarity and connectedness of Maupin's writing. In particular, the neat way that he linked the first few chapters together by mentioning a character at the end of one chapter and then making the next chapter about that person was really clever.
    Glad to have discovered this series and thsi writer.
  • (5/5)
    This. Is. Amazing.
  • (4/5)
    So much better than Michael Tolliver Lives! A return to the suspense-driven, multi-character books that were so great at the start of this series. Shawna and Jake bode well for the continuation of this franchise, and it's so nice to see Mary Ann become likable again.
  • (4/5)
    Yet another delightful foray into the world of Maupin's San Francisco! I have loved all of the books in the Tales of the City series, and this one is no excpetion! I have to admit, I entered it with a little trepidation, as Mary Ann was always my least favoured and sympathetic character in the books, and knowing this one centred on her was a worry, but those worries were instantly banished! Age has mellowed Mary Ann into a much more likeable character, and I found myself really identifying with her and rooting for her all along!Michael is his usual jovial self, and I really like the younger characters that have been introduced into the series, and can see new stories emerging through them as the older ones bow out slowly, especially Jake Greenleaf, Michael's transgender business partner.It's testament to the way Maupin draws you into his characters world so completely that the line "He's getting his hysterectomy" doesn't feel odd at all, and fits perfectly! I did however have one small gripe, I found the continued references to things like i-pods and blackberry's and the use of "youth" language, like "sick" and "word", really annoying! It felt a bit too much like Maupin was trying to prove that he was, to use some of that language myself "down with the kids!" Personally, I just don't find that works in a novel, product placement is all very well in movies, but I don't want it in a book thanks!!
  • (4/5)
    Armistead Maupin’s latest installation of the Tales of the City series brings back Mary Ann Singleton, one of the original characters in the early books. More than twenty years have passed since Mary Ann left San Francisco, abandoning friends to seek a television career in New York. But now her marriage is failing and she is facing a potentially fatal health crisis which drives her back to San Francisco and her good friend Michael Tolliver. Once there, Mary Ann reconnects with Anna Madrigal (her former landlady from Barbary Lane), DeDe Halcyon-Wilson, and Shawna (her estranged daughter)…and an old mystery resurfaces that could be more of a threat to her than her fragile health.As in all of Maupin’s books, the characters are who drive the story and draw the reader in. Flawed, original and wholly likable, Maupin’s characters are a joy to spend time with. Maupin captures the essence of San Francisco with its old, quirky neighborhoods, narrow streets and interesting people; and he has some fun with plot, weaving individual stories together and causing the unexpected to happen. Even when coincidences seem to stretch reality, the characters are who rescue the story. This is not a serious read – Maupin’s wit oozes through the story line – and for readers looking for something that glides along the edges of a cozy mystery, this book will be certain to fit the bill.Mary Ann in Autumn is the tenth book in the Tales of the City series, and for readers new to the books I would recommend reading the earlier installations before tackling this one. Although this novel could stand alone, having the background from the previous books would make it a more enjoyable read. Either way, readers who enjoy light, fun books with interesting characters will find this to be a delightful read. Maupin does not shy away from exploring alternate lifestyles, and this (along with all of the books in the series) would be a terrific read for Amanda’s GLBT Challenge.
  • (5/5)
    This book brings back some of the intrigue and adventure of the earlier Tales of the City books. I missed that a bit in Michael Tolliver Lives.

    There's also an amazing shock surprise in the book that really made it a great read.
  • (4/5)
    As a long-time fan of the Tales of the City series, I was surprised that there are not one but two new books in the series I'd missed out on. This volume follows-up on the first-person narrated Michael Tolliver Lives, but resumes the interlocked stories of several characters told from a third-person omniscient narrator like the original six novels. The other return to form is the appearance of Mary Ann Singleton, who was the central character of the serialized stories of the 1970s and 1980s. Mary Ann's characterization in recent stories has not been flattering in the least, but here she returns to San Francisco for the support of her friend Michael, having left her wealthy husband and learned she has cancer. In addition, to Mary Ann and Michael, there are stories about Michael's husband Ben, Michael's friend/employee Jake, Mary Ann's estranged daughter Shawna, and the always lovely Anna Madrigal, the landlady from the earlier stories. There's even a surprise return of a storyline from the earliest Tales of the City stories. Themes of the novel include aging, mortality, and second chances. A nice addition to the series.
  • (4/5)
    Yet another delightful foray into the world of Maupin's San Francisco! I have loved all of the books in the Tales of the City series, and this one is no excpetion! I have to admit, I entered it with a little trepidation, as Mary Ann was always my least favoured and sympathetic character in the books, and knowing this one centred on her was a worry, but those worries were instantly banished! Age has mellowed Mary Ann into a much more likeable character, and I found myself really identifying with her and rooting for her all along!Michael is his usual jovial self, and I really like the younger characters that have been introduced into the series, and can see new stories emerging through them as the older ones bow out slowly, especially Jake Greenleaf, Michael's transgender business partner.It's testament to the way Maupin draws you into his characters world so completely that the line "He's getting his hysterectomy" doesn't feel odd at all, and fits perfectly! I did however have one small gripe, I found the continued references to things like i-pods and blackberry's and the use of "youth" language, like "sick" and "word", really annoying! It felt a bit too much like Maupin was trying to prove that he was, to use some of that language myself "down with the kids!" Personally, I just don't find that works in a novel, product placement is all very well in movies, but I don't want it in a book thanks!!
  • (4/5)
    Tales of the City ever since I had first read them became an instant favorite. I loved the characters and it was great when Armistead Maupin returned with Michael Tolliver Lives. And then to return with Mary Ann in Autumn. After reading this I felt like I had just visited with some old friends. It also makes me want to make another visit to san Francisco.
  • (4/5)
    More of the same (this is the 8th Tales of the City story) and wonderful it is too!Start at the beginning, not with this one, but those of use who have read so far, it was a beautifully crafted, if predictable, story.
  • (3/5)
    I was pretty eager to read this one, as I loved Tales of the City so much. It was a good ending to the series, or at least a continuation - I'm guessing it's an ending, but it's hard to tell from the way the book finishes.

    It's a beautiful book. A little sad and dark in places, but that's to be expected from some of the things the characters are dealing with (especially Mary Ann, but some others too).
  • (4/5)
    Twenty years ago, Mary Ann Singleton left her husband and daughter behind to pursue her dream of a career in television. Things were going well until she was diagnosed with cancer, and then discovers the her husband is sleeping with her therapist. That final straw convinces her to leave New York for a while and to return to San Francisco hopefully to find some comfort from her long-time friend, Michael Tolliver. But even that won't be easy because of resistance to her from Michael's partner Ben and from the memories of a past failed romance brought to the present thanks to a seemingly random connection on Facebook.For fans of the "Tales of the City" series, such as myself, this novel fits in nicely, continuing with the stories and the live of characters we know and love. Even if you've never read one of the earlier books, the characters feel like old friends, that you're catching up with them after a short break. That makes this a comfortable, easy read. But, I felt that the three different stories -- Mary Ann reconnecting with Michael, Anna Madrigal's roommate Jake meeting with a closeted Mormon, and Mary Ann's estranged daughter Shawna trying to figure out her relationship with her boyfriend -- should have intersected more as they progressed. In the earlier books, all the characters interact with one another at various times, making their stories interconnected, but with this book, they definitely seemed separate, as if they had no bearing on one another, until the last-minute revelations in the final chapters -- and then it felt a bit coincidental.Still, "Mary Ann in Autumn" is a good read, and those already familiar with the characters will enjoy it. And those who've never read the prior novels will want to go back and discover the characters' histories.
  • (5/5)
    Brilliant, and the ending was so shocking.I hated Mary Ann for the last two books and never thought I would like her again, but this book completely redeemed her and now I love her as much as Michael and Anna Madrigal.My favourite "new generation" character is Jake. I really wish his story got some more closure. Here's hoping for a 9th TotC novel.
  • (4/5)
    I find this was a darker and more intense Maupin. It's been years since I read the first tales, but they definitely had a lighter spin. With cancer at its core, I had the sense that the author was ready to grapple with aging, disease, death. The Norman episode was downright terrifying.I guess therein lies Maupin's genious, despite this darkness, despite the doubts that plague Mary Ann and Jake, despite Michael's age and creaking bones, there is still an ability to laugh at life, to revel in the quiet moments of togetherness and to live with dignity and wisdom.The story structure is fantastic: it kept me on the edge of my seat - perhaps a bit too complex, but masterfully executed.
  • (4/5)
    Maupin comes back to the short chapters, multiple POV, third person formula of the original Tales of the city for this second 21st century reunion of the folks from 28 Barbary Lane. The story this time also reverts to the more melodramatic, Hitchcockish plots of the first books. There's maybe not quite as much humour as there could be, but we do get plenty of sentiment: a definite nostalgia trip. Apart from the gadgets-of-the-moment — iphones and facebooks instead of pet rocks and rolodexes — we could easily be back in the seventies.I doubt if this would be much fun for anyone who hasn't grown up with Maupin's books (or at least come out with them), but for those of us who have, it's a most necessary fix. Thank you, Mr M!
  • (4/5)
    Mary Ann, much maligned in the second 'Tales of the City' trilogy but redeemed somewhat in 'Michael Tolliver Lives!' returns to San Francisco, is reunited with many of her old friends, and also, more alarmingly, with an old and almost-forgotten enemy. To a great extent, the joy of this book is the reader’s own reuniting with the familiar and much-loved characters – all ageing now; I fear Mrs Madrigal won’t last another volume. Woe! If Maupin is now inclined to be a little kinder to Mary Ann, he also seems to have fallen somewhat out of love with the annoying Shawna, which can only be a good thing. ('Grrrl on the Loose'? Could that be any more 90s?)The reason for Mary Ann’s return, by the way, is that she has ovarian cancer and wants to have the operation in San Francisco – DeDe Halcyon Day acts as her support here. I have to say, Mary Ann has the best cancer ever: barely has she been diagnosed than she goes in for a teeny-tiny op that goes perfectly, needs almost no recovery time, and is given a clean bill of health thereafter. Lucky bloody Mary Ann, I say.
  • (5/5)
    Last but far from least in th marvelous Tales of the City trilogy. Mary Ann's story and the stories of all the people in the trilogy are riveting. The series and the book have a Dickensian feel about them in the way that the characters connect to one another.
  • (3/5)
    As ever from Maupin, an enjoyable read with superb dialogue. It's like meeting up with old friends for a comfortable and unchallenging chat around the fire.
  • (5/5)
    The old characters are back again. They are older, but are they wiser?
  • (4/5)
    I didn't feel right at home when I began Mary Ann in Autumn. I thought I would. I expected to. I always have before. Each new addition to the Tales of the City books felt like bumping into a bunch of old friends I hadn't seen in a while. All of us grabbing a cup of coffee together so we could have a chance to catch up. (Since we all know each other from San Francisco none of us actually drinks coffee. Lattes, mochas, cappacinos, a chai maybe, but never just coffee.)Mr. Maupin abandoned Mary Ann Singleton several books back. She left San Francisco, her "husband" and their adopted daughter and headed off to New York City hoping to make it big in television. She didn't, but she married well and settled down to the life of a Connecticut housewife. That's tantamount to treason for someone from San Francisco.It's clear in the first few pages that this will be Mary Ann's farewell book. She begins by going back to the old homestead, 28 Barbary Lane, where we first met the main cast of characters living with the magical Mrs. Madrigal in the 1970's when we read Tales of the City in the San Francisco Chronicle. Mary Ann is looking for a past that's gone. Someone else lives there. They've fixed the place up. Most of her old haunts have changed hands and changed names. In an echo of the first novel's opening line she considers going to the Buena Vista for an Irish coffee. She's not wearing a mood ring this time around, but if she were it's color would be misty blue. (You can look it up here.)My problem is that Mr. Maupin has been saying farewell to these characters for the past three or four novels. We've been saying goodbye to 28 Barbary Lane every couple of years since Significant Others (book 4) came out. Then, some 60 pages into the book or so, Mary Ann gets a phone call from a stranger who asks if she remembers someone long dead and a mystery is a-foot. I'd forgotten that Mary Ann's story lines always involved some sort of mystery, something like a high camp Hitchcock. A child pornographer who wears clip-on ties, a homeless mystic who might be the Rev. Jim Jones, a secret cult engaging in cannibalistic communion high in the rafters of Grace Cathedral. Absurd plots that Mary Ann stumbles into while looking for Mr. Right. And I felt at home again.
  • (3/5)
    I didn't like this book very much at first, but I made myself keep reading, because I love Armistead Maupin and Tales of the City. I think Maupin has a real gift for tying together seemingly random and disparate plot points and having them interconnect in a satisfying way, and ultimately I'm glad I kept reading. But while I love knowing what Mrs. Madrigal and Michael and Mary Ann are up to these days, having them speak in a contemporary voice still feels weird to me.
  • (4/5)
    Before there was Sex and the City, there were Tales of the City. Granted, it was a different city...and some different sex in that city. Armistead Maupin’s stories of singles and couples - gay, straight, and either/or - navigating their way through San Francisco over the course during a decade that went from the disco dazzle of the mid-70s to the AIDS crisis in Reagan’s America were originally serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle and collected into six novels. I read and re-read the series every couple of years throughout the 1990s - they’re probably the books I’ve read most as an adult. The plots were often outlandish - Episcopal cannibal cults! - and sometimes very specific to a certain time period - escapees from the Jonestown massacre! - but I grew to love the characters, and I got most of my education in gay culture from Maupin’s Tales.After almost two decades away from the City’s characters, Maupin revisited some of them in 2007’s Michael Tolliver Lives, and now he’s back with them again, effectively coming full circle. The original Tales of the City opened when twentysomething secretary Mary Ann Singleton decided, on the last day of her San Francisco vacation, that she wasn’t going back home to Cleveland. And she never did, although twelve years later she did leave the city - and her husband, adopted daughter, and AIDS-infected best friend - for an East Coast career opportunity. That fizzled, but Mary Ann stayed on, marrying a wealthy businessman and becoming stepmother to his young son, while life went on without her in the City by the Bay. The aforementioned Michael benefited from breakthroughs in AIDS treatments and eventually found a much younger husband; ex-husband Brian raised daughter Shawna on his own and, once she was on her own, took off by himself to explore the USA in an RV; and Shawna became “Grrrl on the Loose,” a high-profile sex blogger. But having reconnected with them all a few years earlier, Mary Ann doesn’t think twice about flying back to San Francisco in the wake of two major personal crises.All of the preceding plot discussion is meant to set the scene for this novel...but since, like the preceding Tales, Mary Ann in Autumn is strongly driven by plot, I won’t say more. Maupin continues to be tuned in to contemporary culture; as mentioned, Shawna is a blogger, and Michael’s husband Ben introduces Mary Ann to Facebook. That introduction leads to a mysterious connection that becomes an unwelcome reminder of a thirty-year-old loose end - something Mary Ann does NOT need to deal with on top of the marital and health crises that sent her back to San Francisco in the first place.While Maupin has brought some newer, younger characters into the fold, it’s my familiar favorites that keep me reading. I do consider the Tales books to be plot-driven, but the plot wouldn’t drive me if I didn’t care about the characters - and I do love these folks. Mary Ann and Michael are well into middle age now, facing - and talking about - the changes that come with it as they draw on their long history together. There are three major plot threads in the novel. One essentially stands on its own, but the other two begin to overlap and integrate as the novel progresses - and as they do, they pull in that thirty-year-old loose end and circle back to the very first Tales. Having said that, I don’t think it’s necessary to have read the earlier books in the series before picking up this one. But if you have, you’ll make some connections that a newbie wouldn’t, and that will enhance your enjoyment of the story. And if you haven’t, you’ll probably want to go read them all anyway, just to fill in the backstory.I had thought that Sure of You (1990) would be the last of the Tales of the City, but now I’m glad it wasn’t. If Mary Ann in Autumn turns out to be where the story ends, I’m quite satisfied with where Armistead Maupin is leaving it.
  • (4/5)
    fun to see this series again and all the characters and see what happened to them. i am mary ann's age so we are all older but that's better than the alternative!i remember this series more from tv although i did read the books. mary ann and her stories were very clear in my memory. also mrs madrigal. i wish we could have seen more of her here. not so clear was michael.
  • (4/5)
    Another classic from Maupin. Left me wishing I had the next in the series already.
  • (3/5)
    I’ve read many, though not all, of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” books – and as I started into this one, it was wonderful to read about these characters again.I think that the title is very appropriate – there is definitely an autumnal feel to the book. Throughout this – there is a feeling of things ending, a sense of letting go although that isn’t necessarily true in the storylines of all the characters. Regardless, as I read through the book, I found myself feeling more and more nostalgic and a bit sad.“It all goes so fast, she thought. We dole out our lives in dinner parties and plane flights, and it’s over before we know it. We lose everyone we love, if they don’t lose us first, and every single thing we do is intended to distract us from that reality.”Maybe that’s what dampened my enthusiasm for this book. When I picked it up – I thought it would be another chance to enjoy characters and stories that I had loved in the past, and instead it felt like another chance to say goodbye.Anyway, I enjoyed Maupin’s writing style just as much and just wish I could have found the same enjoyment in what transpired in “Mary Ann in Autumn”.
  • (5/5)
    Did I love it because of the way it was written or because it brought back the feelings when I read Tales of the City in the Chronicle years ago? His dialogue is the best. The humor he puts into his work is always entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    Armistead Maupin just can't seem to let the characters from his "Tales of the City" series go, and for that, I am very, very glad. In this installment, Mary Ann returns to San Francisco with her marriage in tatters and a big health problem. Many of our old friends from the previous books - Michael Tolliver, Dee De Halcyon, d'Or, Anna Madrigal (although poignantly aged) and Mary Ann's estranged step-daughter Shawna - make their appearance here. And there is the usual sinister element which, thankfully, is nicely resolved by the end of the book.Reading a new installment in this series is like getting together with old friends after a long absence. One falls into familiar rhythms & soon it's like there hasn't been an absence at all. Here's hoping that Maupin will never abandon these characters and will continue their stories into many more volumes.
  • (4/5)
    I have taken some time to think about this, as I do not wantmy review to contain a "spoiler". I will do the best that I can. This is mainly a story about Mary Ann, one of the characters in the beloved Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin. It was in 1976that the first book of this series was released. That is when we first metMary Ann. We also met Michael Tolliver, the main character of the book thatprecedes this one. Anna Madrigal, a flamboyant landlady if a rather spectacular set of flats in San Francisco was introduced in that first book. She, along with Mona, Michael, Brian Mary Ann and others became a sort of family. The series carries us along and shows us what is happening in the lives of the people who first came together at 28 Barbary Lane. I think that thisbook will be most enjoyed by those who are familiar with Mary Ann from herdays on Barbary Lane. In my opinion, this book falls just a little bit short when compared to the books written around the full cast of Barbary Lane character. Even though you will findmany of them here, it isn't quite the same. I loved the full, rich characters and still do when they are presented here. I feel that the effort made to focus on a single charactertakes a little something away from the ensemble that we have come to know and love. Do I think this is a worthy read? Absolutely! Is it as good as the first six books of this series. Not quite. Nor was Michael Tolliver Lives, but it too is a rich and worthyread. If you have not read any of the other books in this series, do yourself a favor and beginat the beginning. You will find characters that you will think of as friends. You willbe richer for having known them and you will return to them again and again. I know I have.
  • (5/5)
    Oh I was so happy to hear a new Armistead Maupin book was coming out and that it continued the Tales of the City series I have loved and read and re-read... I pre-ordered it and it was delivered with a colourful cover which confirmed that San Francisco is the best city in the world... Anyway. The book is set 20 years after Mary Ann has left the town to pursue fame on the east coast and finds her returning to SF with a heavy heart and in need of good friends. She's not a particularly likeable person now but eventually relaxes (like she did when she first came to SF) and builds up some of the relationships she has let drift since she left.Like the other books, there are challenging events which are narrated well - hinting at the awfulness but managing to cover them with a light touch - and we get to meet some new characters along the way. It all ties up, coincidences are not so coincidental but you are left with a feeling of happy contentment and wishing for yet another book in the series. I couldn't really picture Mary-Ann, Michael and Anna as in their middle and old ages, despite references to their hair colour, but maybe that's because I am just too familiar with their young selves in previous books. But anyway, a highly recommended read, especially if you have enjoyed Maupin's other work.