2/06/2011

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey




Remember the paper chains we made as children? Each link, on it's own, is complete and colorful, but it is in the way they link together, where the antecedent determines or at least influences the following link on the chain, that makes it interesting. Life is a colorful paper chain. 

I heard the author Walter Mosley interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR's  Fresh Air and I was intrigued. Mosley was not totally unfamiliar to me because I'd seen the movie Devil In a Blue Dress, with Denzel Washington, which was based on Mosley's book by the same name. I'd heard of the  Easy Rawlins mystery crime series, but not being a fan of the genre, never payed much attention to the author, that is until that December day, when  I  happened  upon the interview. I wrote down the name of the book, for future reference. This particular piece of destiny was the first link on this particular paper chain.

The book, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley, is currently playing in my car's CD player and it has been a truly satisfying audio read. It is narrated by Dominic Hoffman, who is perfect. In researching Walter Mosley, I revisited the Terry Gross Interview in print and there was an excerpt from the book. I could hear the characters speaking in my head, in the voices of Dominic Hoffman. Not all readers of audio books are equal. This reader gets an A+.

The story is about a  91 year old black man who is well into the beginning stage of dementia, which not only makes it difficult for him to think clearly and to remember things, but it causes the past and the present to mix together in a cluttered mess, making life confusing and frightening for Ptolemy. He encounters a young woman, Robyn, age 17, and the give and take between these two characters, from that point on in the story, represents a kind of "love story" based on connection. It is a joy to read. And Walter Mosley is now for me an author to be reckoned with. 

And the links go on.......



Sherril

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