Walter Mosley /
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Mosley (Known to Evil) plays out an intriguing premise in his powerful latest: a man is given a second shot at life, but at the price of a hastened death. Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old man, suffering from dementia and living as a recluse in his Los Angeles apartment. With one foot in the past and the other in the grave, Ptolemy begins to open up when Robyn Small, a 17-year-old family friend, appears and helps clean up his apartment and straighten out his life. A reinvigorated Ptolemy volunteers for an experimental medical program that will restore his mind, but at hazardous cost: he won't live to see 92. With the clock ticking, Ptolemy uses his rejuvenated mental abilities to delve into the mystery of the recent drive-by shooting death of his great-nephew, Reggie, and to render justice the only way he knows how, goaded and guided by the memory of his murdered childhood mentor, Coydog McCann. Though the details of the experimental procedure are less than convincing, 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. (Nov.) (c) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Starred Review Ptolemy Grey is a 91-year-old African American living alone in violent South Central L.A. Frail and suffering from dementia, largely forgotten by his extended family, he can’t remember to eat, his mind “scattered over nearly a hundred years.” He relives events marked by racism, lynching, poverty, and longing for his long-dead wife. His great-grand nephew, Reggie, takes him to the grocery store and prompts him to eat. When Reggie is killed in a drive-by shooting, Ptolemy’s days appear to be numbered. But Robyn, a beautiful, resourceful 17-year-old, steps in. As she sees to Ptolemy’s needs, she awakens his desire for the lucidity he once had, and he meets a doctor who offers him a chance for several months of mental clarity before almost certain death. 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. Ptolemy and Robynare truly indelible characters. Mosley’s story is ultimately life affirming, and his writing is by turns gritty and sublime. Baby boomers caring for aged parents, or thinking about their own mortality, will line up for The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. Mosley’s fans of any age will also embrace it, and every library will be better for adding it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A return to top form for Mosley, who has slumped a bit since ending his Easy Rawlins series. An aggressive marketing campaign and a poignant autobiographical connection (Mosley helped care for a relative with dementia) will draw deserved attention to a very fine novel. --Thomas Gaughan
Lalita Tademy /
Warner Books /
EDITORIAL REVIEW: Lalita Tademy was a corporate vice president at a Fortune(r) 500 company when she decided to give notice and embark upon an odyssey to uncover her family's past. Through her exhaustive research, she would find herself transported back to the early 1800s, to an isolated, close-knit rural community on Louisiana's Cane River. Here, Tademy takes historical fact and mingles it with fiction to weave a vivid account of what life was like for the four remarkable women who came before her. The result is a family saga that sweeps from the early days of slavery into a pre-Civil Rights South-a unique and moving slice of America's past that will resonate with readers for generations to come.
Terry McMillan /
Amazon.com ReviewTerry McMillan's sixth novel, The Interruption of Everything, is every bit as enthralling and empowering as her earlier hits and . However, as McMillan matures as an author, her characters follow suit, which leads her to a wiser, more introspective lead character in the form of Marilyn Grimes. Our reward, as readers, is a tale of midlife crisis, mixed with family and personal drama, all told in the witty, honest, and inspiring style we've come to expect from this seasoned storyteller.As Marilyn approaches middle-age, we follow her struggle to discover herself outside the constraints of a passionless marriage, a demanding family and an ever-growing list of dreams deferred. With three children in college, a husband who suffers from destructive professional and personal inertia, a demanding mother-in-law, a senile mother and a drug-addicted sister, Marilyn has more on her plate than she expected at this stage of the game. Torn between taking care of her friends and family and attending to her own needs, she's faced with choices, like deciding to finish her graduate degree, that never before seemed hers to make. Along the way, supporting characters like Marilyn's feisty little niece and supportive-yet-opinionated best friends Paulette and Bunny add humor and depth to our heroine's character. And as always, McMillan does a flawless job of incorporating humor into even the most traumatic situations, as evidenced by a scene in which Marilyn ends up babysitting her hairdresser's children while waiting twelve hours for new braids. ("At three, Blue has to make a run. Orange has to go to the bank to get a money order. I ask Lexus to find me a Pamper and I take the baby in the bathroom.")Warm and witty, sincere and heartfelt, The Interruption of Everything is sure to delight McMillan devotees and attract a host of new fans. --Gisele TouegFrom Publishers WeeklyMarilyn Grimes is desperately frustrated with her life as a housewife and amateur crafts maker. The world seems to be conspiring against her, as she and her husband hit the emotional and physical rocks of middle age and her extended family keeps erupting in chaos. Emmy Award–winning Whitfield's attempt at husky male voices is awkward, but she does a great job with both older women (Marilyn's mother, who has Alzheimer's, and her sassy mother-in-law, who "elopes" with her new retirement home lover). Oddly, her voice as Marilyn is often not engaging. In some ways the weakness in her characterization is appropriate, as Marilyn claims her soul has been "in hiding" as she's catered to everyone else's needs. But some listeners may get bored by Marilyn's narration, especially compared to her lively girlfriends and family. Still, Whitfield was a natural choice for the part, and she mostly lives up to her reputation in delivering this journey of self-discovery. Also available unabridged on 10 CDs and narrated by Desiree Taylor. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Terry McMillan /
New American Library /
Amazon.com ReviewTerry McMillan's novels feature chatty, catty narrators who have a story they're just busting to tell you. The dominant voice in A Day Late and a Dollar Short is Viola Price, whose asthma just sent her to the ICU. And who came to visit? The Jheri Curl-wearing Cecil, "a bad habit I've had for thirty-eight years, which would make him my husband." Viola doesn't think Cecil's such a catch: "His midlife crisis done lasted about 20 years now," and "to set the record straight, Cecil look like he about four months pregnant." But somebody did catch Cecil--he recently left Viola for "some welfare huzzy" with three kids. And, as we soon find out in Cecil's first-person chapter, Viola has abundant flaws of her own. McMillan deftly sketches the exasperated intimacy of the long and unsuccessfully married.She also has great dish about family dynamics. Have Cecil and Viola's kids got problems! When lovable, luck-free Lewis turns up to visit his mom, he's drunk, broke, and still whining about his ex, Donnetta, who "didn't have as much sense as a Christmas turkey" (though she did have the sense to dump Lewis). Now Lewis consoles himself with his Bobbing Betty doll. "How could somebody with an IQ of 146 be so stupid?" marvels Viola. And that Charlotte! Viola's daughter is "a bossy wench from the word go." (Gee, where could she have gotten that trait?) Charlotte feels like she never got her fair share of attention, having been born 10 months after the eldest daughter, Paris (now the driven mom of a brilliant athlete whose white girlfriend claims she's pregnant). Charlotte took it out on younger Lewis and Janelle, who's been in college 15 years with no degree in sight. At first, you'll make ample use of the family charts in the endpapers to figure out who's who, but pretty soon you'll feel right at home with the squabbling, multiply dysfunctional, ultimately loving Price clan. You may agree with Viola: "Some folks got some stuff that can top ours. Hell, look at the Kennedys." --Tim AppeloFrom Publishers Weeklyher four adult kids, all of whom have their own children, and their various circumstances, relationships and dilemmas. Not about to give Viola the last word, the other family members take turns talking in each of the remaining chapters. At first it is a bit confusing trying to keep track of who's who (the audio book doesn't come with family charts, the hardcover does), but it all eventually becomes clear as this complex and entertaining story of family dynamics or as daughter Paris calls it, "As the World F*ing Turns, again and again and again" gets fleshed out. McMillan is in her element, and readers Coleman and Willis do an excellent job of capturing the personalities of all the characters, be they surly, sassy, depressed or comic. Their talents guide the listener expertly through this captivating and ultimately optimistic tale of the ties that bind and the things that really matter. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 11, 2000). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Maya Angelou /
Random House, Inc. /
Amazon.com ReviewIn this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant." From School Library JournalGrade 10 Up. Two slender volumes that present critical information about popular classic titles. Bloom's introduction is followed by a short biographical sketch of each author and then a detailed thematic and structural analysis that summarizes the novel in question, chapter by chapter. Excerpts from critical essays constitute the major portion of each book. Some of the essays on The Sun center around character analysis, especially of the main female character, Brett Ashley. Other entries include comparisons to other works of literature including F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and discussions of the symbolism, morality, and the work's historical context. Hemingway's own interpretation of the book and a letter from Fitzgerald to Hemingway about its flaws are excerpted. In the second book, the writings explore Angelou's use of language, her narrative technique, unique qualities of Caged Bird, comparisons with other works, and opposition to it. Motherhood, racial pride and self-hatred, rape, and honesty are among the issues explored. While similar material may be found in many other places, these series titles will be useful resources.?Lois McCulley, Wichita Falls High School, TXCopyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Marita Golden /
Ballantine Books /
Product DescriptionBefore the Civil War, there lived in Louisiana, people unique in Southern history. For though they were descended from African slaves, they were also descended from the French and Spanish who enslaved them. In this dazzling historical novel, Anne Rice chronicles four of these so-called Free People of Color--men and women caught periolously between the worlds of master and slave, privilege and oppression, passion and pain."Anne Rice seems to be at home everywhere....She makes us believe everything she sees."THE NEW YORK TIMES From the Inside FlapBefore the Civil War, there lived in Louisiana, people unique in Southern history. For though they were descended from African slaves, they were also descended from the French and Spanish who enslaved them. In this dazzling historical novel, Anne Rice chronicles four of these so-called Free People of Color--men and women caught periolously between the worlds of master and slave, privilege and oppression, passion and pain."Anne Rice seems to be at home everywhere....She makes us believe everything she sees."THE NEW YORK TIMES
Alex Haley /
Vanguard Books /
SUMMARY:One of the most important books and television series ever to appear, Roots, galvanized the nation, and created an extraordinary political, racial, social and cultural dialogue that hadn’t been seen since the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book sold over one million copies in the first year, and the miniseries was watched by an astonishing 130 million people. It also won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past. Over the years, both Roots and Alex Haley have attracted controversy, which comes with the territory for trailblazing, iconic books, particularly on the topic of race. Some of the criticism results from whether Roots is fact or fiction and whether Alex Haley confused these two issues, a subject he addresses directly in the book. There is also the fact that Haley was sued for plagiarism when it was discovered that several dozen paragraphs in Roots were taken directly from a novel, The African, by Harold Courlander, who ultimately received a substantial financial settlement at the end of the case. But none of the controversy affects the basic issue. Roots fostered a remarkable dialogue about not just the past, but the then present day 1970s and how America had fared since the days portrayed in Roots. Vanguard Press feels that it is important to publish Roots: The 30th Anniversary Edition to remind the generation that originally read it that there are issues that still need to be discussed and debated, and to introduce to a new and younger generation, a book that will help them understand, perhaps for the first time, the reality of what took place during the time of Roots. From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. It's hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Alex Haley's groundbreaking historical novel (based on his own family's history) was first published and became a worldwide phenomenon. Millions have read the story of the young African boy named Kunte Kinte, who in the late 1700s was kidnapped from his homeland and brought to the United States as a slave. Haley follows Kunte Kinte's family line over the next seven generations, creating a moving historical novel spanning 200 years. Avery Brooks proves to be the perfect choice to bring Haley's devastatingly powerful piece of American literature to audio. Brooks's rich, deep baritone brings a deliberate, dignified, at times almost reverential interpretation to his reading, but never so reserved as to forget that at its heart this is a story about people and family. His multiple characterizations manage, with a smooth and accomplished ease, to capture the true essence of each individual in the book. Michael Eric Dyson offers an informative introduction to Haley's book, but it is Brooks's performance that brings the author's words and history to life. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Product DescriptionOne of the most important books and television series ever to appear, _Roots_, galvanized the nation, and created an extraordinary political, racial, social and cultural dialogue that hadn’t been seen since the publication of _Uncle Tom’s Cabin_. The book sold over one million copies in the first year, and the miniseries was watched by an astonishing 130 million people. It also won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. _Roots_ opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past. Over the years, both _Roots_ and Alex Haley have attracted controversy, which comes with the territory for trailblazing, iconic books, particularly on the topic of race. Some of the criticism results from whether _Roots_ is fact or fiction and whether Alex Haley confused these two issues, a subject he addresses directly in the book. There is also the fact that Haley was sued for plagiarism when it was discovered that several dozen paragraphs in _Roots_ were taken directly from a novel, The African, by Harold Courlander, who ultimately received a substantial financial settlement at the end of the case. But none of the controversy affects the basic issue. _Roots_ fostered a remarkable dialogue about not just the past, but the then present day 1970s and how America had fared since the days portrayed in _Roots_. Vanguard Press feels that it is important to publish _Roots: The 30th Anniversary Edition_ to remind the generation that originally read it that there are issues that still need to be discussed and debated, and to introduce to a new and younger generation, a book that will help them understand, perhaps for the first time, the reality of what took place during the time of _Roots_.
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