Leslie Reese's Reviews > The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley
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's review
Jan 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read from January 20 to 26, 2012

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley is a love story that manages to be both robust and forlorn---because of the characters, the times, the milieu. Somehow it is about family and keeping promises even though many words, bodies, spirits, and bloodlines have suffered through battering times and have not triumphed.
Ptolemy Grey is a 91 year old black man who---suffering dementia---struggles to re-coup the singular lost memory that will allow him to die in peace. His compassionate and unlikely companion in this quest is 17 year old Robyn---a great grand niece who is related to him by circumstances and not blood.
The story takes place in Los Angeles; the characters flawed but not unlikable; the dialogue and movement make this book a natural page-turner but the distillation of Ptolemy’s dementia, his memories and feelings of those memories juxtaposed to his aging body and fleeting mind are portrayed in language crafted with tenderness. Still, this tale is told with plenty of vinegar and a few drizzles of honey.
Occasionally one of the characters will get caught with a huge chunk of philosophy that doesn’t quite fit in their mouth, but this is easily forgiven.

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01/20/2012 page 83

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