Synopses & Reviews
A masterful, moving novel about age, memory, and family from one of the true literary icons of our time.
Ptolemy Grey is ninety-one years old and has been all but forgotten-by his family, his friends, even himself-as he sinks into a lonely dementia. His grand-nephew, Ptolemy's only connection to the outside world, was recently killed in a drive-by shooting, and Ptolemy is too suspicious of anyone else to allow them into his life. until he meets Robyn, his niece's seventeen-year-old lodger and the only one willing to take care of an old man at his grandnephew's funeral.
But Robyn will not tolerate Ptolemy's hermitlike existence. She challenges him to interact more with the world around him, and he grasps more firmly onto his disappearing consciousness. However, this new activity pushes Ptolemy into the fold of a doctor touting an experimental drug that guarantees Ptolemy won't live to see age ninety- two but that he'll spend his last days in feverish vigor and clarity. With his mind clear, what Ptolemy finds-in his own past, in his own apartment, and in the circumstances surrounding his grand-nephew's death-is shocking enough to spur an old man to action, and to ensure a legacy that no one will forget.
In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Mosley captures the compromised state of his protagonist's mind with profound sensitivity and insight, and creates an unforgettable pair of characters at the center of a novel that is sure to become a true contemporary classic.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
is a beautiful meditation on love, frailty and old age. Filled with Walter Mosley's signature humor and narrative mastery, it is as much a page turner as it is a heart tugger. It is a novel that stays with you long after you read the last word and immediately urges you to read it again."
"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."
-Booklist (starred review)
"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 (starred review)
In a masterful, moving novel about age, memory, and family, Mosley captures the compromised state of his protagonist's mind with profound sensitivity and insight, and creates an unforgettable pair of characters at the center of a novel that is sure to become a true contemporary classic.
A major literary event-nothing short of a "tour de force" (New York Times) by the acclaimed and beloved author.
Marooned in an apartment that overflows with mementos from the past, 91-year-old Ptolemy Grey is all but forgotten by his family and the world. But when an unexpected opportunity arrives, everything changes for Ptolemy in ways as shocking and unanticipated as they are poignant and profound.
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A masterful, moving novel about age, memory, and family that will forever establish Walter Mosley as one of the true literary icons of our time.
About the Author
Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and best-known writers. His most recent mystery, The Long Fall, was a New York Times bestseller, and his books have been translated into more than twenty-one languages. His fiction has been published in a wide array of publications, including The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, and Savoy. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America's Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.