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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey | [Walter Mosley]

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Penguin Audio; ©2010 Walter Mosley

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (206 )
5 star
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4.5 (134 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-02-13
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 02-02-13 Member Since 2010

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Old People Turn into Chores For The Young"

    Most of WM's books speak to me, but this one especially. My mother is 77 and going through dementia. One day she is kicking me out of her house, then next she is calling me begging me to come help her. She is paranoid, nothing is her fault and everybody is out to do her wrong. She tells the same stories over and over. She turns her cable tv to stations that don't exist and thinks her tv is broke. Her tv runs 24 hours a day and the volume is always way up. If anything Mosley did not show how bad dementia can be.

    I have never meet WM in person, but through his books, I know that he is a warm loving person. No one can write the books he has, the way he has and not be someone special. I don't love all his books, but I have never hated any of them. This book touched my heart several times. In a neighborhood filled with crackheads and thugs, Mosley found two characters of great value. If you have not read Mosley before, I believe this is a good place to start. He writes in several genres and I first found him in Science Fiction. Most of his books are about the human condition of the black man. Yet none of it is preachy and neither is it a put down of all white men.

    My favorite Mosley books are Futureland and The Man in My Basement.

    Narrator is excellent.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Austin, TX, United States 01-18-12
    Gail Austin, TX, United States 01-18-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story- Wonderful Reader"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I could not stop listening.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Even though the topic was about death and illness, the story was about life and living.


    Which character – as performed by Dominic Hoffman – was your favorite?

    Of course he did Ptolemy perfectly.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I could not stop thinking about it after I completed it. It made me happy.


    Any additional comments?

    The first couple of chapters are actually hard to listen to. The writer wants us to feel the frustration Ptolemy has with his confusion, and I did. But the action picks up soon, and never stops until the end.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KayeTidwell SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 08-01-12
    KayeTidwell SACRAMENTO, CA, United States 08-01-12

    Miss Kaye

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pleasantly Surprised"

    This book was great. I loved this story! When I finished it, I restarted it and listened again. Definitely worth the purchase. It's one of my favorites in the 120 books I now own. You have to listen to understand.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sunflower38 Sacramento, United States 03-26-11
    Sunflower38 Sacramento, United States 03-26-11

    KindleLvr

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ""Totally in Awe of Mr. Mosely"..."

    "PHENOMENAL"! This is my first Walter Mosley book. Wow, I am left speechless with teared filled eyes because I too love Ptolemy. I can say I love him just as much as Robin, if not more. It's been a long time since I've been able to connect with multiple characters in a story. I felt, while listening, like I knew these people personally and I was an invisible person with them on the bus, visiting Neicy, or visiting the Jewish Lawyer. Also, that I was there drinking tea with the antiques dealer and sitting on the couch with Mr. Grey as he gave Al his "gold coin". This was, for me, story telling at it's best. I was completely engrossed and engaged in the story. I didn't want it to end. I am reflective of our duty to assist and love our Nations Elders and how a little love and attention goes a long way.

    I listened to the audio version of this "INCREDIBLE" work. I don't know if my opinion of the book would be any different if I read it and not listened however, I do know with certainty that listening to Ptolemy in an Elder's voice made the story come alive. It was exceptional. That voice gave remembrance to all the Elder men in my life that I love. I felt and not just heard the greed of the family members who believed they deserved what they didn't. I felt the fear with Ptolemy when he was confused and couldn't speak of what he wanted to do or say. I knew in my own heart, as Mr. Grey knew in his, that Robin meant him no harm and that she loved him. I just can't say enough. My wish is that everyone could read this endearing story. If there is only one book that you pick up this year to read know with "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey" you will get a great read, a good learning, and a few tears.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 01-13-11
    David United States 01-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    "THE LAST DAYS OF PTOEMY GREY"

    Yes! I just cannot find a Walter Mosley novel that leaves me 'moving right on', to next book. His books leave me thoughtful and reflective. Like every other novel I have read by Mr. Mosley I will be reading this one again. The great readings of his works are essential. Thank you.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-21-12
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2009

    The Path Between the Seas to The Great Bridge ~ Kagan's Peloponnesian War to Gaddis' Cold One ~ Mornings on Horseback to a River of Doubt ~ Tom to Huck ~ Lennie to Charley ~ Cadfael to Cross ~ Rhyme to Reacher ~ Blomkvist and Salander to Wallander and Wallander ~ Moving Cheese or Eating Frogs ~ On the Road and Into Thin Air ~ The End of History to A Short History of Everything to ... well ... everything else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful Beyond Words"

    This is a sad, beautiful story ~ an amazing snapshot of a mind lost and found again ~ of a long forgotten mission and an urgent new one ~ of lovers and friends and family, in all their forms. Be patient as the story builds in its earliest pages. Bear with the befuddled old man and marvel at the sensitive, realistic, compelling portrait of his mind. And then soar with him through remembrance and love and adventure and ...

    Easily one of the finest offerings in the Audible catalog.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Eureka, KS, United States 01-15-12
    Carol Eureka, KS, United States 01-15-12

    cj

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    "Unforgettable main character"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    One of the hardest things I have ever done was say goodbye to Ptolemy Grey. If you desire to get up close and personal with death and dying, courage and dedication to family, this is the book...I did not want it to end.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The courage and conviction of the main character


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marion Wiesbaden, Germany 01-08-11
    Marion Wiesbaden, Germany 01-08-11 Member Since 2004

    You have listened to how many Audiobooks!!!!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Powerful"

    Walter Mosley has a true hit here. He really brought the reader or listerner into the story to understand Mr Grey's life. Good Job

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr.Abena Pine Bluff, AR 03-06-12
    Dr.Abena Pine Bluff, AR 03-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    "An Old Friend"
    Would you listen to The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey again? Why?

    I have already listened to it at least 6 times.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I love the main character, Ptolemy


    Have you listened to any of Dominic Hoffman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, this is the only one. I like him, but it's the story and the character that captured me.


    Any additional comments?

    Some parts of the story are vividly violent, and the language is authentic if you're sqeamish, but in the service of a brilliantly crafted story of an old man given the ability to make sense of his long life. My college-aged son found the pace of the story too slow, but I just went with it, and the main character got under my skin. Ptolemy has become part of my life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaui Bay Area, CA 11-13-12
    Kaui Bay Area, CA 11-13-12 Member Since 2009

    I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up because I had heard that Walter Mosley is a highly regarded writer and I can see why. This book is hopeful yet sad, lyrically melancholy and ultimately, all about love and life, though dementia and impending death are the main "characters". Read this - you will enjoy it. Also, the narrator was sublime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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