Read Armistead Maupin’s Michael Tolliver Lives.

Posted on August 31, 2008
Filed Under Book Review | 301 Comments

Michael Tolliver LivesIf you haven’t read it yet, now is the time to read Armistead Maupin’s latest novel, Michael Tolliver Lives.  It is arguably Mr. Maupin’s best novel and it is now available in paperback.  I strongly recommend this book.  Here is my complete 2007 Blogspot review:

It’s okay to get excited about this. Michael Tolliver Lives is an emotionally engrossing novel that is also frequently laugh out-loud funny.

The story is told in the first person by Michael Tolliver–one of the main characters in the Tales of the City books. By making this choice, Mr. Maupin infuses the novel with a bouyant optimism. And this optimism is sorely tested. For while the novel begins with Michael in good shape–thriving on the anti-HIV cocktail, married to a nice (much younger) man–some of the people in his life are not doing so well. Namely: his mother in Florida and a woman named Anna Madrigal.

I’m not going to give away anymore of the plot, except to say that this novel does not disappoint. The literary quality is superb. And it’s a genuine page-turner.

Is it flawless? No. Much of the action is dialogue-driven. No big problem there. One could say the same of Hemingway or Fitzgerald. But Mr. Maupin occasionally falls into the trap of revealing more in the dialogue than is organic. And the O’Henry-esque plot twists sometimes give the novel an artificial feel. Also: the book is marred by an unfortunate anti-Muslim joke near the end. Unfortunate because it isn’t funny. Unfortunate because the joke seems so out of character coming from a man who’s so politically correct he even drives a Prius.

But these are relatively minor flaws. And if you think about it, even great books have minor flaws.

It’s time to take a step back. “Get the big picture,” as they taught us in Driver’s Education.

Armistead Maupin is alive and well and writing at the height of his powers. So go ahead. Get excited.

Armistead Maupin’s novel,
Michael Tolliver Lives
is published by Harper Collins.


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