A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky

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 ...

Details A Ladder to the Sky

TitleA Ladder to the Sky
Release DateNov 13th, 2018
PublisherHogarth Press
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, LGBT, Adult, Adult Fiction, Audiobook, Writing, Books About Books

Reviews A Ladder to the Sky

  • Emily May
    Everyone has secrets, I had remarked. There’s something in all our pasts that we wouldn’t want to be revealed. This book was extraordinary. I can't think of a more appropriate way to put it. It's a story made up of fascinating characters, amusing literary criticism, fantastic dialogue, and moments of such terrifying desperation and horror that I sat staring wide-eyed at my Kindle.And I wasn't sure about it at first, to be honest. Books about ...
  • chai ♡
    I, personally, love reading books and straddling that fine line between “loving the book” and “wishing you could unhinge your jaw and a swarm of locusts fly out of your mouth to attack the book.”My feelings for this book are still flashing like a flipped coin, end over end—hate love hate love hate love—endlessly combining and recombining in the ceaseless effort at making sense. I feel morally and legally obligated to spread the good g...
  • Melissa
    Masterfully manipulative. Cunning. Ingenious. Exceptional. There are times when the sheer cleverness involved with what I’ve just read requires time to ruminate before some semblance of coherent thought can be strung together. So, here I sit—two months post-read—hoping to express just how impressive I found this creative gem to be. If the fact that this book is still lingering in the forefront of my mind after so long—and a dozen other bo...
  • 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...
  • 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 fa...
  • Elyse Walters
    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...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”I was a good-looking boy and I brought him back to life. I may have taken advantage of his good nature, but why not? I flirted with him, made sure that I remained sexually ambiguous at all times. Always a possibility but never a certainty. I led him on to the point where he was so overwhelmed with desire that I think there was literally nothing he wouldn’t have done for me, had I asked. And then, when I got everything I needed from him, I wr...
  • Julie
    A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne is a 2018 Hogarth Press publication. “And you’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, haven’t you?” He shook his head. “That it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. A pointless waste of energy.”Maurice Swift may be one of the most calculating literary characters in recent memory. His goal is to be a great writer, to win the big literary prize. However, he has no imagination of his own. He can’t ou...
  • Will Byrnes
    In evolutionary biology, parasitism is a relationship between species, where one organism, the parasite, lives on or in another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life.[1] The entomologist E. O. Wilson has characterized parasites as "predators that eat prey in units of less than one" - Wikipedia Well, sometimes a host gets to be an entire feast. Maurice Swift can be plenty charming, and he is quit...
  • 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 ...
  • Peter
    MachiavellianAn amazing literary work immersed in ambition, infatuation, betrayal and narcissism. John Boyne skillfully develops a character, Maurice Swift, who has an obsessive ambition to be a famous and accomplished author, with massive commercial and literary glory. 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 id...
  • Kevin Ansbro
    "Ambition is putting a ladder to the sky." —American proverbHaving fizzed like a seltzer all the way through John Boyne’s The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I already knew that I will happily read anything by this gifted author. Boyne has a rare gift that so many modern authors lack: the ability to create extraordinary characters who melt our hearts or rattle our cages.This is a breathtaking story of dangerous infatuation and sociopathic ambiti...
  • 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 look...
  • 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 ...
  • Paula
    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,...
  • Liz
    What a fascinating premise. Maurice is a con and a scammer. He lacks imagination but not ambition. He wants to be a successful writer at all costs. The book starts with Erich, an aging author, finally finding fame in his sixties. He falls for Maurice, who sees potential in playing to Erich’s infatuation. He steals Erich’s story of himself as a young man in Nazi Germany. And this is not a story that paints Erich in a positive light. Each segme...
  • 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, someo...
  • Susanne Strong
    4.5 Stars* (rounded down)Proof Positive that an author can write a novel with a truly despicable main character (and some less than likeable supporting characters) and still write a brilliant novel! All it takes is a fantastic storyteller. John Boyne is that man. When I read “The Hearts Invisible Furies” last year I fell in love. With both Cyril Avery - the main character, and with John Boyne. Prior to that, I’d only known Boyne through the...
  • Angela M
    3.5 starsWhat do you do when you have the blind ambition to be a writer and while you can write, you just don’t have a creative idea in you ? If you are the unscrupulous, narcissistic, slime ball named Maurice Swift - you do anything that it takes - steal their stories and their books and ruin their lives. I wasn’t going to read this, but 33 trusted GR friends gave it 5 stars and more than a handful gave it 4 stars so how could I resist? Besi...
  • Em Lost In Books
    Maurice smiled. 'Stealing is very bad,' he agreed. 'Only really bad people take things that don't belong to you.' So Maurice was an aspiring writer when he first met the famous author Erich Ackermann. Young, beautiful, and a charm that was hard to ignore, Maurice was aware of all this about himself. Poor old Erich didn't know that he was being until it was too late. Living mostly by himself all his life Ackermann fell hard for Maurice and paid th...
  • 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 ...
  • jessica
    my 11th grade english teacher instilled the fear of god in me when it came to plagiarism. he hounded us every day that plagiarism is the most horrific sin a person could ever commit. i was absolutely terrified of every essay i submitted; petrified that, by some ill-fated coincidence, my combination of words would resemble someone elses. i had nightmares that i would be thrown in jail or, worse, receive a failing grade. so the fact that this story...
  • Beata
    I've been following John Boyne for some years now, and I always find his novels interesting, I just like the themes and his writing style. A Ladder to the Sky is an absolutely perfect novel since I loved the book and loathed Maurice Swift. How can that be?? I have no idea but not many books have recently generated this combination during my reading experience. Boyne takes us on a tour around the literary world and shows its bitter side.
  • Debbie
    Grabbed my pogo stick at Part 2 and kept on hopping...This is so weird. I vigorously hated Part 1, yet I just as vigorously gave the book 5 stars. What’s up with THAT? The book starts with an old writer man lusting over a young writer man who will stop at nothing to get ahead. Scathing conversations, immoral acts, a cynical vibe, just nasty people doing and saying nasty things to each other in the publishing world—it was all just too depressi...
  • Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
    4 stars! Maurice - you conniving, selfish scoundrel! Never have I ever been so intrigued by such a nasty and repulsive main character. Wow!This novel follows Maurice Swift in his rise to fame. We are introduced to Maurice as a handsome young man whose goal in life is to become a famous writer. He will stop at nothing to get ahead, latching on to countless people to use them for all he can get. As the story progresses, we witness just how greedy, ...
  • JanB
    There’s a proverb that says ambition “is like putting a ladder against the sky. It’s a pointless waste of energy."Told in three parts, this book shows the complete degradation of a person when blind ambition is coupled with psychopathic tendencies. An author must be a keen observer of people and events. They can take a nugget of an idea, then use their imagination to turn it into a story.  But what happens when the only person you are ...
  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    ***NOW AVAILABLE***I am probably one of the only readers on this site that hasn’t read John Royne before. This was a Traveling Sister read and I thank them for bringing this book to my attention.This book is about writers, the publishing industry, how different people get their ideas to write a novel,etc, but it revolves steadily around the main character Maurice. We are taken back to 1988 Berlin where an illustrious and recently well published...
  • Brandice
    Intriguing, disturbing and mesmerizing! These are the top 3 words that come to mind to describe the ride that is A Ladder to the Sky. The main character, Maurice, is truly a terrible human being yet the story was fascinating and I could barely stop reading, eager to see what his next move would be and how everything would play out. This was a buddy read with my friend Cody (his review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...). As an avid re...
  • Carol
    Oh Yes. Another 5 Star Winner! Oh the power of beauty....and John Boyne's addictive writing....once again! Meet Maurice Swift....you won't forget him! He wants to be a famous author. He's just a young man of 17 when first introduced, but is already hungry for attention and fame from the literary world. AND, oh yeah, he is a downright heart throbbing, mesmerizing beauty of a man....desired by both species....and dam well knows it! As this bloodsuc...
  • Candi
    3.5 stars"I’m going to be the greatest novelist of my generation."In The Heart's Invisible Furies I couldn’t help but feel affection towards Cyril Avery, quirks and all. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but who is? In this novel, John Boyne has managed to create a character with absolutely no redeeming qualities! Well, okay, Maurice Swift may have been devastatingly handsome, but that is neither here nor there. This guy is the ultimate creep...