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.
Ptolemy Grey is 91 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 17-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 92 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.