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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Paperback – Bargain Price, November 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Critics described The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey as a remarkable blend of literary fiction, mystery, and fantasy. Most were moved by this story of a man slowly losing himself to dementia and his friendship with the compassionate and pragmatic Robyn. The only exception came from the Entertainment Weekly reviewer, who found the novel too convoluted and bizarre to be enjoyable. And though Mosley’s latest is a pretty big departure from his private detective series featuring Easy Rawlins, the novel stands on its own as an original tale of aging, family, love, and loss. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
The characters were rich and interesting. They grew throughout the book so that the reader could have a good sense of who they really were.
I love Easy Rawlings, Fearless Jones, and especially Paris Minton but they never moved me with such emotion. Only Ptolemy, of Mosley's characters, through the descriptive and heart rendering writing I was moved to tears, anger, defensiveness and wanting more.
The book begins with Ptolemy in his filthy, cluttered apartment. He can't even open the bathroom door because it's blocked with junk. His apartment reeks. His TV and radio blare all day and night. Danger looms outside. A dope fiend regularly mugs him when he ventures outside his apartment. Ptolemy's thoughts and memories are like his apartment. This story is about how he gets both back in order for his family.
A remarkable story - a bit like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as Ptolemy regains his ability to function and put thoughts and words together through what he calls "a deal with the Devil."
Good honest storytelling, this along with Water for Elephants, gives a glimpse into the former lives of people we often marginalize because of their age, and/or living situation.
Led me to inquire more into the life of the author - quite a guy!
Keeps popping up in my mind days after I finished.
My Thoughts: The book is narrated by Ptolemy and I thought Mosley did a brilliant job of capturing Ptolemy's confusion and dementia while also giving the reader the story of what is going on in Ptolemy's life. It is a tricky balancing act, and I think Mosley pulled it off wonderfully. Although this was often a difficult read as Ptolemy's thoughts are often fragmented and mixed up (as it would be in person with dementia), I found it very affecting and felt as if I was inhabiting Ptolemy's decaying brain. In some ways, the book reminded me of Flowers For Algernon as the experimental medical procedure gives Ptolemy his memory and wits back to him ... but only for a brief period of time. As the procedure begins to exact its steep price, I found myself filled with sorrow for both Ptolemy and Robyn. A lovely and interesting look at aging, love and the end of life.