A Ladder to the Sky
Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with ce ...more
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 writers, the publishing process and literary critic ...more
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 gospel about this story, but I don’t want anyone to make the fa ...more
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 books in-between—isn’t a testament to John Boyne’s level of ...more
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 s ...more
What’s wrong with that?
Well, a lot, but then th ...more
“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 outline a plot, or create characters, so he uses his good looks and ...more
An 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 ideas and plots for his novel. The fascination with ...more
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. The entomologist E. O. Wilson has characterized parasites as "predators that eat prey in units of less than one" - WikipediaWell, sometimes a host gets to be an entire feast. Maurice Swift can be plenty charming, and he is quite something to look at, but he has issues with mo ...more
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
Having 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 ambition. And, in keeping with Boyne’s default modus operan ...more
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 ...more
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 more powerful. Maurice i ...more
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 segment gives us another step in Maurice’s trip up the ladd ...more
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 movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” “A Ladder in th ...more
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 ...more
What 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? Besides, I really enjoy Boyne’s writing and I loved his la ...more
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 the price. Maurice extracted a dark secret from A ...more
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 ...more
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 depressing and dark. I realized, hey, I don’t want to be aroun ...more
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, manipulative and destructive he can be.
This story ...more
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 interested in is yourself? When your interest in people is on ...more
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 author, Erich Ackermann is eating at a restaurant a ...more
This was a buddy read with my friend Cody (his review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...). As an avid reader, I enjoyed the many elements in the book rela ...more
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 bloodsucking worm of a human being manipulates his way thr...more
"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! His single-minded ambition to write and be famous drov ...more
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.
John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.
His novel ...more