14 October 2011

Imprint Friday: Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Harper Perennial. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

Do you know Mary Ann? If so, you've waited eagerly for Armistead Maupin to publish another novel in his Tales of the City series. Lucky you, Mary Ann in Autumn came out in paperback just last week. If you don't know Mary Ann and her friends, well, you're in for a treat. Take a look at the summary:

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 “Mouse” Tolliver, a gardener happily ensconced with his much-younger husband.

More than three decades in the making, Armistead Maupin's legendary Tales of the City series rolls into a new age, still sassy, irreverent, and curious, and still exploring the boundaries of the human experience with insight, compassion, and mordant wit.
I read the first Mary Ann collection, Tales of the City, many years ago. I don't remember the details but I do remember feeling totally involved with Mary Ann and her gang. Michael, Brian, Mona, Mrs. Madrigal, and the others are so well formed I had strong opinions about them, liking some, almost hating others, and wishing a few were my next-door neighbors.

Maupin is more than a master of characterizations, though. He was part of the first wave of authors to write about AIDS, and many of his characters are gay or might be gay. Using humor and a host of characters from different economic classes and sexual orientations, Maupin brilliantly weaves social commentary into his slice-of-life stories.

I've only just started Mary Ann in Autumn, and I'm already back in San Francisco with Mary Ann as she orders a Swiss Orange Chip ice cream cone and revisits her old neighborhood. My heart goes out to young Ben as he chats up friends at the dog park trying not to worry about what might happen now that Michael's old friend is back in town. I still don't know Mary Ann's news, but I'm looking forward to fun reading ahead.

Here are some thoughts about Mary Ann in Autumn; click on the links for the full reviews.
  • Wendy from Caribou's Mom writes: "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."
  • Publishers Weekly concludes: "As ever, Maupin's edgy wit energizes the layered story lines. His keen eye for irony and human foible is balanced by an innate compassion in this examination of the life of a woman of a certain age."
  • Libdrone Books says: "I did not so much read Armistead Maupin’s new eighth volume in the Tales of the City series . . . near so much as I devoured it in a single sitting."
The hardback edition of Mary Ann in Autumn was an Indie Next pick for November 2010. For more on the series and to join the Tales of the City Readalong, see the discussion of Tales of the City and More Tales of the City on the Olive Reader. To learn more about Armistead Maupin and his work, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, or check out his Facebook page. Eva Wiseman wrote about Maupin for the Guardian last fall.

Harper Perennial is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For information about the imprint, please read Erica Barmash's welcome note posted here on June 18, 2010. I encourage you to add your reviews of Harper Perennial books to the review link-up page; it's a great way to discover Good Books for Cool People. And don't miss the The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog.

Mary Ann in Autumn at an Indie
Mary Ann in Autumn at Powell's
Mary Ann in Autumn at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Harper Perennial, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780061470899


Julie P. 10/14/11, 7:51 AM  

I haven't read anything by this author. Sounds like something I might really enjoy.

Beth Hoffman 10/14/11, 10:05 AM  

I've never heard of Mary Ann before, but now I'm intrigued.

Thanks, and happy weekend!

caite 10/14/11, 10:16 AM  

not having read Tales of the City, I fear I might be lost.

Zibilee 10/14/11, 10:52 AM  

When I first met my husband, he had the whole collection of Tales from the City books and I was dually impressed. I think he would love to know that this book has made its way out there, and have to admit that I am curious too! I am glad to hear that you are enjoying it!

bermudaonion 10/14/11, 12:07 PM  

I've heard of the Mary Ann books but haven't read any. They sound right up my alley.

picky girl 10/14/11, 5:03 PM  

I'm excited for this one as I read Tales of the City not too too long ago and really enjoyed it. I could see that this series could be like candy.

Jenners 10/14/11, 10:03 PM  

Gosh .. I started reading these AGES ago back in college!! It would be like revisiting old friends to read this book!

Wendy 10/15/11, 1:13 PM  

This is such a great series - I read the first books when I initially moved to San Francisco and it was so wonderful to experience the City for the first time along with these characters. Thanks for the linky love :)

Louise 10/17/11, 6:13 AM  

I love the Tales of the City books so much that my (gay) best friend and myself used to call each other Mary Ann and Michael Mouse. Thought though that Mary Ann became a bit unlikeable - hopefully this book will bring her back to the sweet character she once was.

Kris 10/30/11, 6:55 AM  

I've never heard of this series but it sounds wonderful! it's going on my wish list, thanks!

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