A Ladder To The Sky by John BoyneA Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder To The Sky

byJohn Boyne

Hardcover | November 13, 2018

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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.

If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don't even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a West Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter.

Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people's stories. He doesn't care where he finds them--or to whom they belong--as long as they help him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.

A psychological drama of cat and mouse, A Ladder to the Sky shows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul.
JOHN BOYNE is the author of 11 novels for adults, 5 novels for younger readers and a collection of short stories. His 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was an international bestseller, selling over 7 million copies worldwide. He has won three Irish Book Awards, a Stonewall Honor Award and a Lambda Literary Award. His novels are...
Title:A Ladder To The SkyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.53 × 6.4 × 1.28 inPublished:November 13, 2018Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385692919

ISBN - 13:9780385692915

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must-read So juicy and thrilling, this book is an un-able to put it down! Fast-read.
Date published: 2018-12-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Juicy, thrilling and suspenseful Many thanks to Netgalley, Crown Publishing and John Boyne for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy. Get ready to dive into a tale of deceit and subterfuge as you discover what make Maurice Swift tick. All Maurice wants to be is a writer. A writer and a father. But not just any writer, a famous bestselling, award winning author. He is an excellent writer, the only problem is that he doesn’t have any original ideas - not even one. Maurice’s ambition is not going to let a little thing like that stop him. Why should it? By using people, stealing their stories and leaving a trail of crushed spirits (and bodies) behind him, he manages to publish successful novels. How far will he go? Will he commit the ultimate sin to get his story? This character reminds me a bit of “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. As I learned more about Maurice, I realized this wasn’t so much an arc of this character’s descent into evil, rather, he is so cold, calculated, and unfeeling, with psychopathic tendencies, that I realized he doesn’t have a moral centre at all. His wife, Edith, wonders if he ever loved her. She couldn’t believe that even in the beginning it wasn’t a real love. The relationship with his son really illustrates how he is incapable of emotion. Claiming he always wanted a son as much as he wanted to become a writer, he finds a surrogate and along comes Daniel. Daniel is a perfect child, but reality does not live up to what Maurice thinks and he says that “he always had expected to feel unadulterated love for a child…but things hadn’t quite worked out that way”. No parental feelings of love developed, even his own child can’t stir his heart. Psychopaths can only copy the outward actions of people, because they don’t have the emotions to guide them. Watching Maurice’s story unfold and following his rise and fall is thrilling and beautiful. Boyle has a unique voice. I love the way this was written. Suspenseful, but not in a whodunit kind of way. It flows beautifully and I was so excited to keep reading. The characters are rich, well drawn and you can’t help but feel for Maurice’s victims, even those who should have known better. My heart broke for Erich, Dash, Edith, but mostly for Daniel. Gore Vidal was delicious. Yes, Maurice doesn’t have any redeeming qualities, but I was still drawn in by him. His ability to pick his targets and like a spider, spin a web that they are powerless to escape from. The ending was completely satisfying, everything I could hope for. This was just a great read and I enjoyed every bit of it.
Date published: 2018-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark, seductive, and skillfully menacing! A Ladder to the Sky is a character-driven, psychological thrill ride involving the ruthlessly ambitious Maurice Swift who has no qualms about using his handsomeness, charm, lack of conscience, and sociopathic tendencies in his ceaseless pursuit to become the world-class, successful writer he knows he can be. The prose is unsettling and controlled. The characters, including the sinister, impulsive protagonist are consumed, complex, and vulnerable. And the brilliantly crafted plot builds nicely to create the perfect amount of tension and suspense as it unravels all the duplicitous motivations, manipulative actions, questionable personalities, and parasitic relationships within it. A Ladder to the Sky is an eerily compelling, darkly humorous, tragic novel that transports you to some of the biggest cities in the world and immerses you in a tale full of creative, eccentric, often self-absorbed characters that will keep you enthralled from start to finish. It’s a truly memorable novel by Boyne that highlights his extraordinary talent as a storyteller and his uncanny ability to lay bare humanities weaknesses and emotional vulnerabilities while still poking fun at an industry very close to his heart.
Date published: 2018-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Talented Mr Ripley if he wanted to be an Author Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an e-arc of Ladder to the Sky, however this is no way influences my review. Ladder to the Sky is about the life of an ambitious man, Maurice, who is mercenary in his focus to be a father and an author. He measures success largely with the goal of being awarded "The Prize" but also plans to be a commercial bestseller. The novel follows Maurice from his early 20s in 1988 to roughly the present day, with 5 sections of with 4 different POVs. My only complaint with this layout is that I wish that the section "Other People's Stories" was narrated by Theo rather than Maurice. Narration aside, this is a fascinating story about a life spent on singular focus for personal gain. I also loved how the more successful people that Maurice uses to achieve his goals are aware of their complicity but seem powerless against his charisma. This is an accessible literary fiction book that raises a number of issues throughout - mostly surrounding naked ambition and ownership of art - and I would highly recommend it. I look forward to pub day and recommending it to everyone!
Date published: 2018-08-12

Editorial Reviews

A Washington Post Best Book of 2018An Esquire Best Book of 2018An Irish Times Best Book of 2018A Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Best Book of 2018"A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft. . . . Boyne has given us an unforgettable protagonist, dangerous and irresistible in equal measure. The result is an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation." —The Observer (UK)"I'm embarrassed by how much I enjoyed John Boyne's wicked new novel, A Ladder to the Sky . . . a satire of writerly ambition wrapped in a psychological thriller. Beware reading this in public: Boyne's prose inspires such a collision of laughing and wincing that you're likely to seem a little unbalanced. . . . Even when you think you've figured it out, you'll still be running three steps behind. It's a macabre magic trick in print—the kind of story you want to read again as soon as you've gasped at its final page." —The Washington Post"A taut and gripping novel . . . as craftily written as Swift himself." —Esquire"[A Ladder to the Sky is] sort of a comic novel, sort of a satire and sort of a thriller. . . . This is a first class page turner. . . . A rip-roaring beach read about literary life, the fools we make of ourselves in pursuit of love and fame and the whirligig of time bringing in, as it always does, its revenges." —The Guardian (UK)"Boyne expertly explores notions of originality and authorship. . . . [A Ladder to the Sky] is absorbing, horrifying and recommended." —Library Journal, starred review "An all-consuming ambition to be a successful writer drives a young man down unusual paths to literary acclaim in this compelling character study. . . . Boyne's singular villain and well-sustained tension merit a good audience." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review"Boyne's fast-paced, white-knuckle plot, accompanied by delightfully sardonic commentary on the ego, insecurities and pitfalls of those involved in the literary world, makes for a truly engrossing experience." —Publishers Weekly, starred review"Maliciously witty, erudite and ingeniously constructed. . . . A Ladder to the Sky keeps twisting and turning in such slyly unpredictable ways that, honestly, I sometimes laughed out loud at Boyne's ingenuity. . . . After reading A Ladder to the Sky, you may never look at an author's book jacket photo the same way again." —NPR Books"Boyne's novel is about high literature, but has lower, juicier ambitions, at which it wildly succeeds." —Vulture"What is the secret of creating a successful novel? This is the question that drives John Boyne's disturbing psychological thriller. . . . A Ladder to the Sky is clever, chilling and beautifully paced; a study of inner corrosion that Patricia Highsmith herself could not have done better." —The Times (UK)"[A Ladder to the Sky] is irresistably readable, both darkly funny and a suspenseful page-turner, and with many sardonic things to say about the pursuit of fame and about the literary world and its rivalries. . . . One of Boyne's achievements here is to make his own psychopath so outrageously intriguing that we're as fascinated as we're appalled by the terrible things he does." —Irish Independent "John Boyne's ambition in writing a comic novel about a nasty writer—that's nothing new. But John Boyne's ambition in writing a comic novel about a nasty writer with no scruples who never repents that will make you chuckle morbidly until the last line? That's ambition fulfilled." —NPR"John Boyne is a master storyteller and fans of his earlier novels The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and The Heart's Invisible Furies will doubtless be captivated by this chilling and darkly comic tale of unrelenting ambition. . . . An impressive story built around an irresistibly despicable character you'll love to hate." —Daily Express (UK)"Well-crafted. . . . The novel unfolds in an extremely layered manner, but what Swift's story slowly reveals says much about publishing, pride, deceit and plagiarism—and worse, much worse." —Booklist"Deliciously venomous. . . . A Ladder to the Sky is an entertaining, if deeply cynical portrait of the literary world." —Bookpage"A highly enjoyable romp that lifts the lid on authorial vanity and jealousy and an intelligent take on cultural appropriation." —Monocle"A deft plotter, Boyne has fun with the idea that vampiring is simply a part of what novelists do, and he implicates readers in their acts of thievery-as-creation by making us like despicable Maurice, almost against our will. . . . [A] devilishly entertaining novel." —Star Tribune (Minneapolis)