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Sunday, September 16, 2018

REVIEW: A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne @john_boyne @hogarthbooks

A Ladder To The Sky
by John Boyne

Thanks so much to Hogarth Press for this amazing copy!
A book that will definitely stick with you long after you finish it - see my full thoughts below.

Publisher:  Hogarth Press
Publish Date: November 13, 2018 (First published August 9, 2018)
Genres: Literary Fiction, Contemporary

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...

My Review:

"This is a tale of ambition."  Oh what a tale it is!  Meet Maurice Swift.  A young, ambitious man whose hunger to be a successful writer chews up and spits out everyone with whom he comes into contact.

This story is told in several parts, and through the eyes of Maurice's victims, and then ultimately himself.  At points you almost feel like you're getting more than one book, but then it all comes together and you're left wowed.  The way Boyne builds Maurice's character - I haven't hated on a character like this in a very long time.  There are no redeeming qualities and I will remember him for a long time coming; this I know.

Have you ever met that ever charismatic person who instantly takes over a room, who is ridiculously good looking and who commands attention?  Yet, at the same time, their only talent lies in manipulation and selfishness?  Well if you haven't, then Boyne presents you this person on a silver platter.  Completely narcissistic and sociopathic, you can't even feel for him.  I feel almost dirty just knowing his life story - fiction or not.  And often, it doesn't feel very fictionalized. (I mean, did Boyne even really write this book?! ha!)

A story that will stick to your bones long after you turn that last page.  This psychodrama is a beautifully written book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an intricate story and character study of a person you just can't like but yet you just can't look away from either.


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