The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

by Walter MOSLEY

277 p.

Read for

‘What’s in a Name’ Reading Challenge

– Life Stage Category –



Product Description – on amazon

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.


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.



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.”
-Edwidge Danticat

“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.”

“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


God I love that book!
When I saw that the author had written so many books and that he was so renowned, I was ashamed I had not even heard his name ever! Now that I read this book, I want to read many more by this author.

If you are looking for a page turner, you have it. But a page turner filled with feeling, sensitivity, old age and teenage years, and at the same time not a cheap tear-jerker.

His dealing with the theme of memory is superb, you follow the old man as he goes in and out his many memories, and how they connect with his every day life and final essential act – I will not tell you what, of course.

I should say actually how he deals with the theme of time; that would include memory, but also relations between generations, done as well with mastery.

Every character is so real; next time you go out, you may turn to see if you are going to meet Ptolemy’s crazy neighbor.






3 thoughts on “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

  1. Pingback: Read in January 2011 « Words And Peace

What do you think? Share your thoughts, and I will answer you. I will also visit your own blog

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.