Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Tale Wagging: Armistead Maupin Revisits His Tales of the City Characters-Older, Wiser, Yet Still Endearingly Neurotic as Ever-In Mary Ann in Autumn

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Tale Wagging: Armistead Maupin Revisits His Tales of the City Characters-Older, Wiser, Yet Still Endearingly Neurotic as Ever-In Mary Ann in Autumn

Article excerpt

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"I WAS IN A GOTHIC MOOD," Armistead Maupin says with a laugh. "I wanted to do something spooky and sad and funny all at once." The celebrated author is speaking by phone from the attic office of his San Francisco home about writing Mary Ann in Autumn (Harper, $25.99), the eighth novel in Maupin's popular Tales of the City series. The new book is a return to the multicharacter tapestry and mordantly humorous themes that made Maupin's reputation when he began chronicling the fictional denizens of 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco newspaper columns in the 1970s.

After an absence of 18 years Maupin's beloved characters resurfaced in 2007 in Michael Tolliver Lives, which reunited readers with his fictitious alter ego, lovingly nicknamed Mouse. That book's first-person narrative was a departure from Maupin's cliff-hanger style in his compulsively readable original series. But with Mary Ann in Autumn he returns to the third-person format of his earlier work and brings fans up to date with Mouse's longtime best friend, Mary Ann Singleton (memorably played by Laura Linney in a trio of television miniseries). "Writing in the third person enables me to create stronger suspense; it gives me more freedom," he says. …

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