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The Resource The last days of Ptolemy Grey, Walter Mosley

The last days of Ptolemy Grey, Walter Mosley

Label
The last days of Ptolemy Grey
Title
The last days of Ptolemy Grey
Statement of responsibility
Walter Mosley
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man, suffering from dementia and living as a recluse in his Los Angeles apartment. Then Robyn Small, a 17-year-old family friend, appears and helps clean up his apartment and straighten out his life. A reinvigorated Ptolemy volunteers for an experimental medical program that restores his mind, and he uses his last days--shortened now by the medical experiment--to delve into the mystery of the recent drive-by shooting death of his great-nephew, Reggie
Storyline
Tone
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old African American living alone in violent South Central L.A. Frail and suffering from dementia, largely forgotten by his extended family, he can’t remember to eat, his mind “scattered over nearly a hundred years.” He relives events marked by racism, lynching, poverty, and longing for his long-dead wife. His great-grand nephew, Reggie, takes him to the grocery store and prompts him to eat. When Reggie is killed in a drive-by shooting, Ptolemy’s days appear to be numbered. But Robyn, a beautiful, resourceful 17-year-old, steps in. As she sees to Ptolemy’s needs, she awakens his desire for the lucidity he once had, and he meets a doctor who offers him a chance for several months of mental clarity before almost certain death. Mosley’s dramatic departure from his Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill crime novels appears to be a very personal one, a deeply thoughtful, provocative, and often beautiful meditation on aging, memory, family, loss, and love. Ptolemy and Robynare truly indelible characters. Mosley’s story is ultimately life affirming, and his writing is by turns gritty and sublime. Baby boomers caring for aged parents, or thinking about their own mortality, will line up for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Mosley’s fans of any age will also embrace it, and every library will be better for adding it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A return to top form for Mosley, who has slumped a bit since ending his Easy Rawlins series. An aggressive marketing campaign and a poignant autobiographical connection (Mosley helped care for a relative with dementia) will draw deserved attention to a very fine novel. -- Gaughan, Thomas (Reviewed 09-15-2010) (Booklist, vol 107, number 2, p27)
  • /* Starred Review */ Mosley (Known to Evil) plays out an intriguing premise in his powerful latest: a man is given a second shot at life, but at the price of a hastened death. Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man, suffering from dementia and living as a recluse in his Los Angeles apartment. With one foot in the past and the other in the grave, Ptolemy begins to open up when Robyn Small, a 17-year-old family friend, appears and helps clean up his apartment and straighten out his life. A reinvigorated Ptolemy volunteers for an experimental medical program that will restore his mind, but at hazardous cost: he won't live to see 92. With the clock ticking, Ptolemy uses his rejuvenated mental abilities to delve into the mystery of the recent drive-by shooting death of his great-nephew, Reggie, and to render justice the only way he knows how, goaded and guided by the memory of his murdered childhood mentor, Coydog McCann. Though the details of the experimental procedure are less than convincing, Mosley's depiction of the indignities of old age is heartbreaking, and Ptolemy's grace and decency make for a wonderful character and a moving novel. (Nov.) --Staff (Reviewed September 13, 2010) (Publishers Weekly, vol 257, issue 36, p)
  • Best known and acclaimed for his Easy Rawlins mystery novels (Devil in a Blue Dress ), Mosley occasionally transgresses into the philosopher/doctor role, offering his diagnosis and prognosis for pervasive social and racial ailments. In this latest foray into allegorical fiction, Ptolemy Gray, a 91-year-old African American struggling with dementia, painfully recalls joyful events. Old Coy, a former hero-figure/friend, bequeaths to Ptolemy a white man's stolen treasure that, if invested wisely, would correct racial transgressions foisted upon undeserving blacks. However, Ptolemy's confused memory and lost communication skills sap his intentions. Then a passionate lady/angel introduces our protagonist to a doctor/devil, who injects Ptolemy with an experimental drug that empowers him to correct these inequities but quickly takes his body and soul. VERDICT As with The Man in My Basement , this is another stylized commentary of little redemptive quality (its overall theme seems redundant rather than reflective), and it makes a rather weak contribution to the ongoing American racial debate. For Mosley's dedicated fans as well as comprehensive, contemporary American fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/10.]— Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA --Jerry P. Miller (Reviewed October 1, 2010) (Library Journal, vol 135, issue 16, p70)
  • /* Starred Review */ An ancient man living in solitary squalor in Los Angeles is offered an experimental medicine that just might beat back his creeping dementia—and will almost certainly kill him in the process. At 91, Ptolemy Grey has outlived everyone he ever cared for. His uncle and mentor, Coydog McCann, was lynched back in Mississippi when Li'l Pea was only a child; his much younger wife, Sensia Howard, had a fatal stroke 22 years ago; and as his story opens, he's summoned to the side of his much-loved son Reggie, his last link with the outside world, killed in a drive-by shooting. Unable to get services from the landlord who's frustrated that he can't raise the rent and afraid to go out alone lest he run into Melinda Hogarth, the crazy addict who keeps mugging him, Ptolemy lives amid an unending flood of uncontrolled memories and associations that render his mind as unusable as his clogged toilet. But his life turns around when he meets Robyn Small at Reggie's wake. An orphan taken in by Ptolemy's niece Niecie, Robyn has already, at 17, lived through as tempestuous a life as Ptolemy. But she's emerged from its vicissitudes clear-eyed, tough-minded and eager to help the old man who claims her as a daughter. She cleans and fumigates his reeking apartment, sets up a bank account for the cash he's socked away and takes him to see Dr. Bryant Ruben, the satanic physician who offers Ptolemy a medical therapy unapproved by the FDA that may improve his memory and his cognition, but at a high price. Robyn is shocked and repelled, but Ptolemy, who's named after Cleopatra's father, is eager to get something like his old life back. Borrowing from Faust, the Iliad and Gran Torino, Mosley (Known to Evil, 2010, etc.) unforgettably transforms Ptolemy's cacophony of memories into a powerful symphony that makes him "into many men from out of all the lives he had lived through the decades."(Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2010)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
365728
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Mosley, Walter
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3563.O88456
LC item number
L37 2010
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • African American families
  • Old age
  • Memory
  • Older African Americans
Label
The last days of Ptolemy Grey, Walter Mosley
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
277 p.
Isbn
9781594487729
Lccn
2010012317
System control number
(OCoLC)535490558
Label
The last days of Ptolemy Grey, Walter Mosley
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
277 p.
Isbn
9781594487729
Lccn
2010012317
System control number
(OCoLC)535490558

Library Locations

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