A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne


A Ladder to the Sky
Title : A Ladder to the Sky
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1984823019
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384

The new novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart s Invisible Furies , a seductive Highsmithian psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for success The one thing he doesn t have is talent but he s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way After all, a would be writer can find stories anywhere They don t need to be his own Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful but desperately lonely older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long held secret about his activities during the war Perfect material for Maurice s first novel Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold blooded climb to the top But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall


A Ladder to the Sky Reviews


  • Meredith

    THIS BOOK WOWED ME Meet Maurice Swift whose single purpose in life is to become a famous novelist Beware Maurice is a story thief He will steal your stories, and, in essence, your soul Maurice will do whatever it takes to get to the top but he was one major problem standing in his way he lacks creativity While he can write, his stories are boring.Ever the resourceful one, Maurice uses his physical beauty and charm to leach onto famous writers, not to learn from them but rather to ste THIS BOOK WOWED ME Meet Maurice Swift whose single purpose in life is to become a famous novelist Beware Maurice is a story thief He will steal your stories, and, in essence, your soul Maurice will do whatever it takes to get to the top but he was one major problem standing in his way he lacks creativity While he can write, his stories are boring.Ever the resourceful one, Maurice uses his physical beauty and charm to leach onto famous writers, not to learn from them but rather to steal from them Maurice is a story thief, he uses people for their ideas and throws them away when he gets what he needs He sucks people s souls right out from under them, draining them to the point where they have nothing left to offer the literary world It all begins in Berlin in 1980, when renowned novelist Erich Ackermann first spots Maurice working as a waiter at the Savoy Drawn to Maurice s beauty, Erich lures him into becoming his assistant and believes that they have a true connection But their connection slowly crumbles, as Maurice is only using Erich for a storyand what a story he steals This seems to be Maurice s first act of destruction When he is done with Erich, he simply discards him and moves onto his next victim doing ANYTHING, and I mean anything, to get the stories that he needs Once he has achieved his first conquest, he continues to take and take and take One wonders if all of his stealing will ever catch up with him.Told in three parts by three different narrators, along with some interludes woven in, A Ladder to the Sky details Maurice s rise to the top I too was enthralled with Maurice As much as I despised him, I was intrigued by him and couldn t wait to see what he was going to do to keep his status Maurice s character is brilliantly crafted it was as if I was pulled into the pages by Maurice, even before I got to experience his voice, which says a lot about Boyne s writing ability Boyne s writing is top notch Intricately plotted, filled with sharp wit and multi dimensional complex characters, I was completely riveted while reading this I found A Ladder to the Sky to be an absurdly interesting critique on the literary world While I had a sense of how things would turn out in the end for Maurice, I could not predict the lengths that he would go to keep his fame I loved every moment of this book It s not a happy story, but it certainly is an alluring one that got under my skin This is by far the best book I have read in 2018 I finished it some time ago and still cannot stop thinking about it I highly highly recommend I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review

  • Paromjit

    It is a story that is as old as time itself, common in our human history and a major source of inspiration for writers, producing great literature, from the likes of Shakespeare to Patricia Highsmith s Tom Ripley, the unleashing of a ferocious, power hungry ambition, nakedly unfettered, ruthless as it wreaks tragedy and destruction in its wake, doing whatever is deemed necessary to achieve the sought after obsessive dream After the brilliance of The Heart s Invisible Furies, John Boyne gives us It is a story that is as old as time itself, common in our human history and a major source of inspiration for writers, producing great literature, from the likes of Shakespeare to Patricia Highsmith s Tom Ripley, the unleashing of a ferocious, power hungry ambition, nakedly unfettered, ruthless as it wreaks tragedy and destruction in its wake, doing whatever is deemed necessary to achieve the sought after obsessive dream After the brilliance of The Heart s Invisible Furies, John Boyne gives us a mesmerising psychological drama, with its coldly manipulative and ambitious Maurice Swift, an adequate if mediocre writer but lacking the elusive inspirational spark that produces great novels, he is blessed with charisma and good looks A sociopath, a man desperate enough to steal stories to succeed in his desire to win literary prizes, having no issues when it comes to betrayal of anyone, willing to sell his soul for literary worldly acclaim In a tale that begins in the 1980s through to the present, it shifts from Berlin and Europe, the US to Britain today, we follow Swift from his initial encounter with Cambridge academic and literary prize winner, novelist Erich Ackermann, whose past life story he exploits to gain his entry into the glittering world he so craves and his ensuing career and family Will there be an accounting of his actions and behaviour What I can say is that not everyone is taken in by his persona With dark comic humour, Boyne once again demonstrates his ability to give us fascinating and gripping storytelling with a central character that rivals the great Tom Ripley, whilst pondering over the thorny issue of who owns stories A brilliant read that I do not hesitate in recommending highly Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC

  • Larry H

    When you get ready to read a book by an author whose two previous books wound up at the top of your year end best lists and they re truly among some of the best books you ve read, at least in the last decade , you get a little nervous whether lightning will strike thrice, or whether you re putting too much pressure on the book I am the one who has preached measured expectations when reading new books by favorite authors, because each new book deserves to be weighed on its own merit, not comp

  • Elyse

    In the same way Vampires hunger for blood, protagonist Maurice Swift , hungers for stories John Boyne has created a literary Vampire Swift will trade stories for organisms He s not wired sexually like most men He has no desire for sex with either men or women Sex is just one of his power tools to achieve his needs STORIES Maurice is a writer who can t for the life of him think of a story to write about Yet Maurice is driven obsessed nothing else matters He studies every review In the same way Vampires hunger for blood, protagonist Maurice Swift , hungers for stories John Boyne has created a literary Vampire Swift will trade stories for organisms He s not wired sexually like most men He has no desire for sex with either men or women Sex is just one of his power tools to achieve his needs STORIES Maurice is a writer who can t for the life of him think of a story to write about Yet Maurice is driven obsessed nothing else matters He studies every review of every new book published looking for clues as to how do authors come up with stories As an extremely handsome man which means little to Swift per say he will show off his tight abs as seduction for a story for a juicy secret for a story to steal and make his own Be it an author Maurice admires, a wife who can write brilliantly, a son who needs his help, Maurice will sell out everyone and anyone that gets in his way of success Swift s goals in life were clear from a young age to become a famous writer, popular with mainstream readers, and highly respected with the literary critics He also wanted to be a father Swift will eventually sell out himself in time too With no storytelling talent of his own, Maurice Swift, is one of the most famous names in the literary world I still vote, The Heart s Invisible Furies , best book of 2017 I vote Maurice Swift as the most fascinating character of the year.2018 He s toxicdangerous.evil.and incredibly scrumptiously unavoidably alluring

  • Tammy

    Dark and delectable, Boyne s latest novel is compulsively readable Maurice has one consuming desire and that is to be a wildly successful writer Although he is able to craft sentences, he lacks the other critical element crucial to achieving his goal imagination What s a poor boy to do Well, he uses his physical beauty and manipulative charm to glom onto those who are in a position to help him Maurice leapfrogs from person to person as he purloins stories and leaves wreckage in his wake G Dark and delectable, Boyne s latest novel is compulsively readable Maurice has one consuming desire and that is to be a wildly successful writer Although he is able to craft sentences, he lacks the other critical element crucial to achieving his goal imagination What s a poor boy to do Well, he uses his physical beauty and manipulative charm to glom onto those who are in a position to help him Maurice leapfrogs from person to person as he purloins stories and leaves wreckage in his wake Gore Vidal narrates one section and is too sharp or too jaded to succumb to Maurice s machinations Much like the Talented Mr Ripley you must continue to read to find out what reprehensible Maurice will do next or if he ever meets his match Yes, this is a novel about ambition but Boyne s mockery of the publishing world, its inhabitants and preoccupation with prizes is good fun too

  • Peter

    MachiavellianJohn Boyne has this exceptional ability to place words on a page with such soul and meaning, that immediately you re immersed in a delicately unwinding story Nothing is forced, everything flows naturally The characters are developed with marvellous believability whilst illustrating intriguing relationships and entertaining dialogue The dialogue provides so much animation, conveying that touch of humour, irony or jealousy, or sexual teasing.John skillfully develops a character, Ma MachiavellianJohn Boyne has this exceptional ability to place words on a page with such soul and meaning, that immediately you re immersed in a delicately unwinding story Nothing is forced, everything flows naturally The characters are developed with marvellous believability whilst illustrating intriguing relationships and entertaining dialogue The dialogue provides so much animation, conveying that touch of humour, irony or jealousy, or sexual teasing.John skillfully develops a character, Maurice Swift, who has an obsessive ambition to be a famous and accomplished author, with massive sales and literary recognition The problem is that while he can form sentences with an acceptable level of skill, he possesses no imagination With this lack of creativity, he cynically hunts and forages for ideas and plots for his novel The fascination with Maurice is that he is an extremely handsome man and he will use his physical appeal and charisma in his unscrupulous parasitic strategy to glean as much from other writers or publishers as possible Erich Ackermann is an author that has had a series of unsuccessful books but finally receives recognition as a prize winner He is the first narrator of the novel and meets Maurice as a waiter in a restaurant and later invites Maurice on his US European book tour Erich s infatuation with Maurice is his weakness, and he recognises it so Sitting there that day on a bench in the Caffarella Park, this twenty two year old boy made me long to reveal my secrets in the most self destructive way imaginable I wanted to confide in him, to tell him my story The story Erich tells Maurice in private is about his young adulthood in Germany just before the second world war, where he meets Oskar G tt, and again is captivated by a young man Their friendship grows with Erich developing deeper feelings for Oskar and they become and aware of secrets they each harbour, including their views of the Nazi s, their Jewish ancestry, their love of prohibited art and of course Erich s homosexuality When it s revealed that Oskar has a girlfriend he has fallen in love with, Erich is spiteful, having previously out of pure jealousy, discredited his nude painting of her as vulgar and mediocre The unbeloved Erich reacts to their leaving Germany in an atrocious fashion All this becomes the subject of Maurice s first book Two Germans.During Maurice s travels with Erich, he meets Dash Hardy, who is to become the next obsequious victim of Maurice s charms and the source of his next feeding ground You can see in the pointed dialogue and interaction between Maurice and his mentors the subtle swing from his position as prot g to a dominant role as they become less and less useful But once I had what I needed, why would I have stuck around Maurice will undertake this Machiavellian approach several times, cultivating relationships for his own gain, including a marriage to Edith with a son Daniel However, as time passes, looks fade, and the carnage becomes apparent in the rearview mirror, the carnage that may be exposed An amazing book with a wonderful immersive storyline, characterisation and dialogue A book that is totally captivating and a literary masterpiece.I would like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley, for an ARC version of A Ladder to the Sky in return for an honest review

  • Diane S ☔

    Boynes, Hearts Invisible Furies turned out to be my favorite book of last year In that one he gave me a character I absolutely loved, in this one he does the opposite Here, he gives us a character one loves to hate, a young man devoid of any redeeming characteristics Maurice Swift, a man who thinks that anything he does is justified Nothing is his fault.Now I am the type of reader who enjoys being given a character who tugs at my heart, someone in which I can hope for, cherish But.I also Boynes, Hearts Invisible Furies turned out to be my favorite book of last year In that one he gave me a character I absolutely loved, in this one he does the opposite Here, he gives us a character one loves to hate, a young man devoid of any redeeming characteristics Maurice Swift, a man who thinks that anything he does is justified Nothing is his fault.Now I am the type of reader who enjoys being given a character who tugs at my heart, someone in which I can hope for, cherish But.I also say if you can t give me that, then give me some stellar prose, or a plot that is intriguing, pulls me into the story And..yes that is definitely the case here, this plot pulled me in, like watching a train wreck I couldn t pull away Can beauty alone, present a blind that allows one to excuse another s actions Do those who are extremely good looking have an unfair advantage, treated differently than those who do not Apparently so This is a book where it would be so easy to give away part of the plot, so I will stop here The less said the better in this case.Boyne, to me is an amazing writer He writes so many different types of books, but though I have not yet read all of his, the ones I have, did not let me down I look forward to seeing where he takes me next.ARC from bookbrowse

  • Paula Kalin

    Irish author John Boyne has written a masterpiece A Ladder to the Sky is brilliant Maurice Swift, is a so so author who wants to succeed as a writer It s his lifetime ambition, and he doesn t care how he gets there Beautiful, charming, and ruthless, Maurice can t come up with his own stories so he steals them His first victim is Erich Ackermann who has received some literary fame After using Erich s personal story and destroying him, Maurice climbs the ladder to the powerful Maurice i Irish author John Boyne has written a masterpiece A Ladder to the Sky is brilliant Maurice Swift, is a so so author who wants to succeed as a writer It s his lifetime ambition, and he doesn t care how he gets there Beautiful, charming, and ruthless, Maurice can t come up with his own stories so he steals them His first victim is Erich Ackermann who has received some literary fame After using Erich s personal story and destroying him, Maurice climbs the ladder to the powerful Maurice is a user He is a sociopath and watch out if you get in his way Boyne s novel is about obsession, betrayal, and relationships secrets The dialogue is superb The book s character development is excellent.Read this book You will never forget it One of the best I have read this year 5 out of 5 starsThanks to NetGalley, Crown Publishing, and the wonderfully talented John Boyne for the ARC.Publication date November 13, 2018

  • Felicia

    John Boyne could write a 500 page play by play account of the sleeping habits of the maned three toed sloth that inhabits the Atlantic Forest of Brazil using only words that start with the letter Q and I have no doubt that it would be anything less than a compelling example of literary excellence.As is the norm in Boyne s stories, this book features a captivating protagonist, this time his name is Maurice Swift, a narcissist and quite possibly a psychopath, as such, he is a man willing to go to John Boyne could write a 500 page play by play account of the sleeping habits of the maned three toed sloth that inhabits the Atlantic Forest of Brazil using only words that start with the letter Q and I have no doubt that it would be anything less than a compelling example of literary excellence.As is the norm in Boyne s stories, this book features a captivating protagonist, this time his name is Maurice Swift, a narcissist and quite possibly a psychopath, as such, he is a man willing to go to any lengths required to achieve his goal of becoming the most famous fiction writer in the world You see, while Maurice is indeed an incredible writer, he lacks one important prerequisite for attaining the notoriety he so desperately seeks, he can t come up with an interesting plot to save his life Being devoid of imagination, Maurice resorts to using the stories of others to achieve his goal, with no remorse for the lives he destroys along the way, and ultimately, including his own.I dare say that nobody develops a character as intimately as Boyne His protagonists are invariably so believable and relatable that you often feel like you are reading a biography rather than a novel If you ve never had the pleasure of reading a book by John Boyne, I cannot recommend enough that you remedy that situation immediately while you await the release of this gem He is, arguably, the best writer of his and mine generation and certainly my favorite.I was provided an ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  • Debra

    Wowza John Boyne keeps getting better and better Each time he writes a book, he tops his last A ladder to the Sky has done just that This book is beautifully written, tragic, compelling and hard to put down Boyne has given me a character that I love to hate Maurice Swift is so deliciously amoral Maurice is willing to do whatever it takes to be a bestselling Author Armed with his youth and beauty, he sets out to achieve his goals, no looking back, no remorse and feeling justified with hi Wowza John Boyne keeps getting better and better Each time he writes a book, he tops his last A ladder to the Sky has done just that This book is beautifully written, tragic, compelling and hard to put down Boyne has given me a character that I love to hate Maurice Swift is so deliciously amoral Maurice is willing to do whatever it takes to be a bestselling Author Armed with his youth and beauty, he sets out to achieve his goals, no looking back, no remorse and feeling justified with his actions He uses what he has to his advantage all the while using the talent of others to further his own career He takes what he can and moves on He is ambitious, cunning, calculating, arrogant, and manipulative As the book progresses, the reader watches reads as Maurice moves from one person to the next, using that person, until that individual has nothing else to give and or Maurice feels he has taken all he can He will stop at nothing to succeed even if it means destroying lives, ruining careers or worse I enjoyed how this book delves into ownership There is plagiarism and then there is re writing someone s work and telling someone s life events For instance, if someone tells you about a specific time in his her life and you write about it have you stolen from them or just profited off their story To what lengths will someone go to achieve success When the gods with to punish us, they answer our prayers This book is not only a character study of the main character, Maurice, but to a small degree on the many people in his life Erich and Dash both came to realize that they were being used and both allowed it for his own reasons How incredibly sad is it when one knows they are being used and they allow it with the hope of love or companionship There were the tragic figures who were used by Maurice and had no idea until it was too late On the other hand, I absolutely loved the passages with Gore It was nice to see a character who saw right through him and called him on the carpet Those sections were bliss for me.This was a very enjoyable read which provides the reader with many characters POV and ending with Maurice s Will he ever stop in his quest for glory What happens when you lose your youth and beauty Will Maurice ever meet his match Is there a price to be paid for ambition Highly recommend Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own.Read of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com