The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, by Walter Moseley
Clif Cleaveland, MD, MACP
28 January 2011
Much of Walter Moseley's literary output has been categorized as crime fiction. This designation, hoewver, does not do justice to the exceptional writing and the unique insights which his novels offer. His character, Easy Rawlings, who is central to several novels, is a displaced Southerner living in Los Angeles. Along with solving various crimes, Rawlings tries to raise a family while dealing with racism, poverty, and violence in LA.
Moseley's most recent novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Riverhead Press 2010), features 91 year old Ptolemy Grey who is slowing sinking into a disordered, demented life. He is offered a dangerous new medicine by a shady investigator. The drug is purported to restore memory for a time. Grey seizes the chance in hopes that clearer thinking will allow him to solve a murdre and comprehend memories of earlier years. He is aided by 18 year old Robyn, who has fled a brutal home. The novel offeres wonderful insights into the process of memory while unfolding a complex plot which extends from Grey's early childhood. The book is a gem.