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lgpiper

Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
On The Beach (Vintage Classics)
Nevil Shute Norway
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
Obscure Destinies
Willa Cather
A Start in Life (The Michael Cullen Novels)
Alan Sillitoe
Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation
Kristofer Layon

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey - Walter Mosley This was interesting. At the beginning, we have Ptolemy Grey, a 91-year old, musing. Or rather trying to muse. He suffers from dementia, and can't think straight much of the time. He struggles to remember people from his recent past. He struggles for coherent speech, coherent responses to questions. He lives alone. Once a week or so, his grand nephew, Reggie, drops by. But suddenly Reggie has stopped showing up. Another grand nephew, Hilly, shows up to take Reggie's place. But, even demented, Ptolemy can tell that Hilly robbed him after he'd taken Ptolomy shopping and to the bank.

Hilly then takes Ptolomy to Niecie's house. Niecie is Hilly's mother, and obviously, Ptolomy's niece. They're having a wake for Reggie, which Ptolomy didn't realize until he saw Reggie lying in state, so to speak. But, Ptolomy meets Robyn, who has moved up from Georgia after her parents die to be under Niecie's guardianship. Robyn takes over the care of Ptolomy.

They go to a doctor, a slightly shady one, who is willing to try an experimental drug on Ptolomy that has some promise of restoring his cognitive abilities. The downside is that the drug won't work for long, and that Ptolomy will likely die within a few months. Ptolomy figures he's making a deal with the devil, but the devil, i.e. the doctor, only wants his body after Ptolomy's death, not his soul. The drug does work after a fashion, and Ptolomy gains a few months of clarity during which he, with Robyn's help, settles his affairs, including finding and "settling" with Reggie's killer.

That's sort of the story, but the fascinating parts are the story that keeps going on in Ptolomy's head. He remembers snatches of his childhood and snatches of wisdom imparted to him by a local character, Coy Dog. Mosley does an amazing job, I think, of probing the mind and thought processes of one suffering from mild dementia. Some of the things going on reminded me of some of the issues going on with my mother in her final years as a centenarian. Also, it's always interesting to read Mosley to get some insights into the African American experience.