A Ladder to the Sky Summary  7

John Boyne ☆ 7 review

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 fal ”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 wrote”What’s wrong with that? Well a lot but then the world is full of givers and users and sometimes the givers become users and when circumstances become dire enough even users can sometimes become givers We all have users in our life those people who always remind us of how good a friend we are when they need something but when we need something in return suddenly they are not as good a friend as they professed to be Hopefully none of you have a Maurice Swift in your life Other reviewers make comparisons with Patricia Highsmith novels which is spot on but Swift reminds me the most of the main character I’d tell you his name but part of the subterfuge of the novel is his identity in A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin If you like novels involving sociopaths who are infinitely fascinating because of their ability to walk among us and seem reasonably normal then definitely put the Levin on your reading list Now the uestion becomes as you get to know Swift is he a garden variety sociopath or is he a full out psychopath?The book explores the idea of harm or should I say degrees of inflicted harm? Is stealing ideas really wrong? Does a man’s life story belong to him once he has told it to someone else? Is taking a good idea poorly written by another writer and turning it into a much better presented story really immoral? After all isn’t the idea just lost in bad prose until someone say a Maurice Swift who is a good writer can salvage it for literature?Swift’s father is a plumber by trade and the family intends for Maurice to be a plumber as well To them writers only come from well to do families who can afford to give their offspring an Oxford level education There is this great scene that in varying degrees plays out in families all over the world when a child comes to their parents and says I want to be a writer painter dancer or musician Mention any of those professions and it will send a finger of fear down any middle class patriarch’s back Swift makes the mistake of mentioning to his father D H Lawrence’s modest background before becoming a well respected author as an example that a plumber’s son too can become a writer ”’That D H Lawrence only wrote filth’ replied his father ‘Naked men wrestling with each other and posh pieces having it off with the gamekeeper ueer stuff if you ask me Written for poofters with fancy ideas I’ll not have any of it in the house’” I think Dad might have a flair for writing himself ”Posh pieces having it off with the gamekeeper” It got me all tingly One of my favorite parts of the book is when Maurice Swift as the companion to yet another writer he is using to gain influence in the publishing industry visits Gore Vidal Now Gore appreciates a chiseled pair of buttocks and a rigid muscular stomach as much as the next gay man but he is no one’s fool His interactions with Swift are simply marvelous The sexual teasing and charm that Swift has used so effectively on other male writers is of an irritation to Gore who may have seen some of himself in the foppish hair good looks of Swift Of course Gore had been better looking whittier and elegant ”He felt a sudden desire to anger fuck the boy then toss him over the cliffs into the sea below to watch as his body bounced off the rock ¡Oh, lorem ipsum! 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 On the Edge (Dublin Nights, in his cold blooded climb to the top But the higher he climbs the further he has to fal ”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 wrote”What’s wrong with that? Well a lot but then the world Snakewood is full of givers and users and sometimes the givers become users and when circumstances become dire enough even users can sometimes become givers We all have users 88 Poems in our life those people who always remind us of how good a friend we are when they need something but when we need something Relatos íntimos in return suddenly they are not as good a friend as they professed to be Hopefully none of you have a Maurice Swift The Sea Devil: The Adventures of Count Felix Von Luckner, the Last Raider Under Sail in your life Other reviewers make comparisons with Patricia Highsmith novels which The Ultimate Resource is spot on but Swift reminds me the most of the main character I’d tell you his name but part of the subterfuge of the novel The Chronicles of Little Nicholas is his El enigma del laberinto perdido identity Josef Muller-Brockmann in A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin If you like novels Secretos de una bruja celta (Obras De Referencia - Extramuros) involving sociopaths who are The Thin Grey Line infinitely fascinating because of their ability to walk among us and seem reasonably normal then definitely put the Levin on your reading list Now the uestion becomes as you get to know Swift Pintoricchio is he a garden variety sociopath or Il cubo di Rubik. Seguito da un algoritmo per riordinare il cubo is he a full out psychopath?The book explores the Tejo idea of harm or should I say degrees of La noble maison inflicted harm? Is stealing Speculative Japan ideas really wrong? Does a man’s life story belong to him once he has told The Art & Craft of Playwriting it to someone else? Is taking a good The Law of Freedom in a Platform (1652) idea poorly written by another writer and turning The Russian Civil War it The Russian Civil Wars, 1916-1926 into a much better presented story really Huorasatu immoral? After all Huorasatu immoral? After all Sculpture 3D idea just lost Patron PDF Papercraft (Ecogami / Sculpture En Papier T 20)#AUTHOR#ric Fran Ois#END# in bad prose until someone say a Maurice Swift who Dead of Night (Thorne Hill, is a good writer can salvage Sherkull: Libro II: La isla de Folgard it for literature?Swift’s father Kraftwerk is a plumber by trade and the family Conversations with Nostradamus intends for Maurice to be a plumber as well To them writers only come from well to do families who can afford to give their offspring an Oxford level education There The Test is this great scene that Reality is Plastic in varying degrees plays out L'agenda du professeur des écoles 2019-2020 - Le 1er agenda pour professeur des écoles in families all over the world when a child comes to their parents and says I want to be a writer painter dancer or musician Mention any of those professions and Hard Edge (Stone Creek University Book 1) it will send a finger of fear down any middle class patriarch’s back Swift makes the mistake of mentioning to his father D H Lawrence’s modest background before becoming a well respected author as an example that a plumber’s son too can become a writer ”’That D H Lawrence only wrote filth’ replied his father ‘Naked men wrestling with each other and posh pieces having Very Wicked Beginnings (Briarcrest Academy, it off with the gamekeeper ueer stuff The Dwarfs of Arthurian Romance and Celtic tradition if you ask me Written for poofters with fancy Descent of Man ideas I’ll not have any of Stolen (Altered Destinies, it A veces cupido tiene mala puntería (Spanish Edition) in the house’” I think Dad might have a flair for writing himself ”Posh pieces having Oro veneciano (Misterios venecianos nº 2) it off with the gamekeeper” It got me all tingly One of my favorite parts of the book The Garden is when Maurice Swift as the companion to yet another writer he El Club Limonada is using to gain Coming to Dust (True History of Faction Paradox, Magic Bullet influence Battlestar Galactica Role Playing Game in the publishing STOLEN BY AN ALIEN: An Alien Mate Romance industry visits Gore Vidal Now Gore appreciates a chiseled pair of buttocks and a rigid muscular stomach as much as the next gay man but he El Angel y el Brujo is no one’s fool His Fathomless interactions with Swift are simply marvelous The sexual teasing and charm that Swift has used so effectively on other male writers Die Wawuschels mit den grünen Haaren is of an Texas Glory (Leigh Brothers Texas Trilogy, irritation to Gore who may have seen some of himself Hollands Glorie in the foppish hair good looks of Swift Of course Gore had been better looking whittier and elegant ”He felt a sudden desire to anger fuck the boy then toss him over the cliffs Huntress into the sea below to watch as his body bounced off the rock

characters Ö eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ☆ 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 o 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 gospel about this story but I don’t want anyone to make the false assumption that I took pleasure in this reading experience In fact the first thing to spill out right after I turned that last page was a long string of four letter words that I’m not going to deploy Just know that Maurice Swift best be glad he doesn't exist because if I ever met him I was going to punch him in multiple painful places So what’s this book about? Maurice Swift wants to be a famous novelist The desire to reach literary celebrity had never been so piercing But Maurice doesn’t have an original story to tell unless you ram it down his throat Or in the case of Erich Ackermann Maurice pries into your breast with his charms and smiles and shucks it from you like oyster shellsErich a closeted German novelist whose latest novel was a huge success meets Maurice in a bar and invites him to assist him on his international book tour all in the spirit of hope for in the young Maurice Erich Ackermann’s starved and stunted romantic feelings found a place to fix Erich tells Maurice the story of his youth in Nazi Germany and a terrible secret his mind had archived into a distant past and he does it all in good faith but Maurice keeps it in bad Maurice prowls at Erich’s edges digs up the past looking for a crack inducing the old man to drag that festering memory into his mindbefore he churns it into his first acclaimed novel and wreaks havoc upon Erich’s lifeUnfortunately Erich Ackermann’s foolish heart is not the only one that had to be led away from his hopes to Maurice’s Maurice draws in men and women who trust too easily and could not see into the cracks of the world as if he were winding up a thread before he snips that thread between them clean in half deciding to never look back This was his method cruel violent effective And I was chilled by itA Ladder to The Sky lit a hellfire in my heart The thought of this book mixes up rancor disgust violence—and even affection—into an intolerable brew I finished this book feeling as if the fragile filament that connected me to the real world fell slack all at once  I felt dazed even exhausted feeling the trailing ends of the terrible things I’d read and worse the ricochet of my brief brilliant joy when for an instant I really believed the story was taking the turn I’d hoped for But the wrongness of the ending held me completely rooted Yet I found within myself rising through all the trepidation and horror a strange bubble of gladness A Ladder to The sky is dazzling in its complexity astounding in its fiendishness and astonishing in its sheer audacity Any summary can hardly do justice to the mind boggling complexity of the plot John Boyne is an elouent writer of provocative layered dialogue and descriptions and I often found myself so awed by individual pages that I had to cry out about them to hapless people around meMy mind felt needle pricked Each new twist threw me staggering and as I was tracing the implications of every new revelation my small sickly faith was eroding I read with wide eyes and sick fascination as Maurice snatched at every opportunity with clawed hands carving everyone he meets to their bones gathering up their weaknesses and setting them with the rest of his collection He ma

review A Ladder to the Sky

Pportunity a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann He uickly 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 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 adeuate 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


10 thoughts on “A Ladder to the Sky

  1. says:

    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 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 KindleAnd I wasn't sure about it at first to be honest Books about writers the publishing process and literary criticism are not usually my cup of tea but I fell so deeply in love with Boyne's The Heart's Invisible Furies that I wanted to give this a shot And I am so so glad that I did While A Ladder to the Sky is most definitely a character study it's seemingly uiet nature soon gives way to dark secrets and unbelievable horrors I can't stop thinking about itThe story is built up via a compelling past tense narrative that seems to foreshadow an inevitable doom Each section of the book starts fairly innocuously but through carefully crafted character dynamics something much sinister emerges In the first part of the novel aging author Erich Ackermann becomes enad with a beautiful young man and aspiring writer called Maurice Swift His obsession with Maurice leads him to naivete trusting him with ugly truths from his early life as a gay second degree mischling in Nazi Germany; truths which Maurice then uses for his first novel Erich's career is destroyed when he is revealed as the inspiration behind the book while Maurice's takes offAfter a brief interlude which features a meeting between Maurice and Gore Vidal and the witty insights we would expect from him the next section reveals that Maurice is now married This part is narrated by his wife and addressed to you or Maurice an effective choice which is made even effective when we eventually discover the reason whyMaurice is one fascinating character in a sea of fascinating characters here He is an attractive man who uses his looks and careful manipulation to further his ambitions but the uestion is how far is he willing to go for a story idea?It's really effective how the darker aspects of this story creep into what first seems like a uiet character study about art and writing Boyne explores the fine lines between first love and obsession between competition and jealousy between ambition and fanaticism and he does it all with dashes of the wit and humour I so loved in The Heart's Invisible Furies It is especially interesting how he looks at blame and who deserves to be held accountable for their actions Not just with Maurice but with Erich too Erich is such a complex character old lonely desperate carrying a terrible secret and at a glance his punishment might even seem fitting But is it? Are there terrible circumstances which demand exceptions to be made? Perhaps In any case it is hard to feel any satisfaction at his downfallIt's just an absolutely captivating book about people and their stories the ones they tell and the ones they don't I MUST read of Boyne's workCW antisemitism; rape; murder; racism; homophobiaBlog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube


  2. says:

    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 gospel about this story but I don’t want anyone to make the false assumption that I took pleasure in this reading experience In fact the first thing to spill out right after I turned that last page was a long string of four letter words that I’m not going to deploy Just know that Maurice Swift best be glad he doesn't exist because if I ever met him I was going to punch him in multiple painful places So what’s this book about? Maurice Swift wants to be a famous novelist The desire to reach literary celebrity had never been so piercing But Maurice doesn’t have an original story to tell unless you ram it down his throat Or in the case of Erich Ackermann Maurice pries into your breast with his charms and smiles and shucks it from you like oyster shellsErich a closeted German novelist whose latest novel was a huge success meets Maurice in a bar and invites him to assist him on his international book tour all in the spirit of hope for in the young Maurice Erich Ackermann’s starved and stunted romantic feelings found a place to fix Erich tells Maurice the story of his youth in Nazi Germany and a terrible secret his mind had archived into a distant past and he does it all in good faith but Maurice keeps it in bad Maurice prowls at Erich’s edges digs up the past looking for a crack inducing the old man to drag that festering memory into his mindbefore he churns it into his first acclaimed novel and wreaks havoc upon Erich’s lifeUnfortunately Erich Ackermann’s foolish heart is not the only one that had to be led away from his hopes to Maurice’s Maurice draws in men and women who trust too easily and could not see into the cracks of the world as if he were winding up a thread before he snips that thread between them clean in half deciding to never look back This was his method cruel violent effective And I was chilled by itA Ladder to The Sky lit a hellfire in my heart The thought of this book mixes up rancor disgust violence—and even affection—into an intolerable brew I finished this book feeling as if the fragile filament that connected me to the real world fell slack all at once  I felt dazed even exhausted feeling the trailing ends of the terrible things I’d read and worse the ricochet of my brief brilliant joy when for an instant I really believed the story was taking the turn I’d hoped for But the wrongness of the ending held me completely rooted Yet I found within myself rising through all the trepidation and horror a strange bubble of gladness A Ladder to The sky is dazzling in its complexity astounding in its fiendishness and astonishing in its sheer audacity Any summary can hardly do justice to the mind boggling complexity of the plot John Boyne is an elouent writer of provocative layered dialogue and descriptions and I often found myself so awed by individual pages that I had to cry out about them to hapless people around meMy mind felt needle pricked Each new twist threw me staggering and as I was tracing the implications of every new revelation my small sickly faith was eroding I read with wide eyes and sick fascination as Maurice snatched at every opportunity with clawed hands carving everyone he meets to their bones gathering up their weaknesses and setting them with the rest of his collection He mangles their emotions and they yield to his manipulations even as they feel for themselves a measure of the contempt Maurice feels for them ‘That line from Villette’ said Dash uietly ‘How does it go? Where is the use of caring for him so very much? He is full of faults’ ‘Funny’ said Gore laughing a little ‘I was thinking about Wuthering Heights earlier just before we met You know you’ve gone off the deep end when you start obsessing about the Brontës’ There was such desperation in Maurice and it left me wanting to arm myself and put my back against a wall But I was angry too—rage pulsing up from my core like the shock wave of a blast ripping through my horror My fury already blazing burned hotter when we finally get Maurice's account I really tried sifting his thoughts for glimpses that bore some semblance of goodness but they were a lyre with only one string and the note it played was his name I honestly don't think I've ever despised a fictional character with such casanovian passionA deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche A Ladder to the Sky is an exhilarating unsettling and invigoratingly original read You may not grasp it yet—at least not consciously—but you'll be so preoccupied with Boyle stirring such a storm in your mind that you won’t notice he's seized your heart in a pitiless grip as wellBLOG | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | TUMBLR


  3. says:

    Masterfully manipulative Cunning Ingenious Exceptional There are times when the sheer cleverness involved with what I’ve just read reuires 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 storytelling I don’t know what isThey say you should write for no other reason than because you love the craft That freeing feeling of turning ideas into words driven by some internal passion; sharing your stories with no one or anyone a choice to consider later The thought of being published—let alone fame—should be the furthest thing from your mind during the process But what do they know anyway? For Maurice Swift fame packaged as The Prize is his ultimate literary goal And he’s willing to go to just about any length to get what he wants Sure he tries his hand at writing the epic novel a few times but there’s always one crucial obstacle he can’t seem to surmount—coming up with an idea creative enough to inspire a prize winning story Forget plotting characterization or theme it all centers around the idea and without it there's no hopeAlthough starting out on somewhat of an unassuming note the storyline uickly takes a turn morphing into something much darker Picking up this book means surrendering to a master manipulator and his deviously deceptive antics Without a doubt Maurice is as despicable as they come But he’s also incredibly charming ambitious as hell and handsome; which means it’s all too easy to succumb Only to realize when it’s far too late that he’s stolen your words your life your very essence of beingSet amongst the publishing world Boyne gives readers a look at what the so called ladder climb to the sky of literary success often entails Boyne’s play on perspective dark humor and the constant moral uestioning the self rationalizing protagonist manages to provoke makes for an utterly engaging experience Writing so lovely in fact it reiterated why the written word has become such a passion in my own life Thank you to Crown Publishing for sending a free copy of the book my way


  4. says:

    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 adeuate 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


  5. says:

    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 boringEver 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 conuest he continues to take and take and take One wonders if all of his stealing will ever catch up with himTold 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 critiue 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


  6. says:

    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 year2018 He’s toxicdangerouseviland incredibly scrumptiously unavoidably alluring


  7. says:

    ”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 wrote”What’s wrong with that? Well a lot but then the world is full of givers and users and sometimes the givers become users and when circumstances become dire enough even users can sometimes become givers We all have users in our life those people who always remind us of how good a friend we are when they need something but when we need something in return suddenly they are not as good a friend as they professed to be Hopefully none of you have a Maurice Swift in your life Other reviewers make comparisons with Patricia Highsmith novels which is spot on but Swift reminds me the most of the main character I’d tell you his name but part of the subterfuge of the novel is his identity in A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin If you like novels involving sociopaths who are infinitely fascinating because of their ability to walk among us and seem reasonably normal then definitely put the Levin on your reading list Now the uestion becomes as you get to know Swift is he a garden variety sociopath or is he a full out psychopath?The book explores the idea of harm or should I say degrees of inflicted harm? Is stealing ideas really wrong? Does a man’s life story belong to him once he has told it to someone else? Is taking a good idea poorly written by another writer and turning it into a much better presented story really immoral? After all isn’t the idea just lost in bad prose until someone say a Maurice Swift who is a good writer can salvage it for literature?Swift’s father is a plumber by trade and the family intends for Maurice to be a plumber as well To them writers only come from well to do families who can afford to give their offspring an Oxford level education There is this great scene that in varying degrees plays out in families all over the world when a child comes to their parents and says I want to be a writer painter dancer or musician Mention any of those professions and it will send a finger of fear down any middle class patriarch’s back Swift makes the mistake of mentioning to his father D H Lawrence’s modest background before becoming a well respected author as an example that a plumber’s son too can become a writer ”’That D H Lawrence only wrote filth’ replied his father ‘Naked men wrestling with each other and posh pieces having it off with the gamekeeper ueer stuff if you ask me Written for poofters with fancy ideas I’ll not have any of it in the house’” I think Dad might have a flair for writing himself ”Posh pieces having it off with the gamekeeper” It got me all tingly One of my favorite parts of the book is when Maurice Swift as the companion to yet another writer he is using to gain influence in the publishing industry visits Gore Vidal Now Gore appreciates a chiseled pair of buttocks and a rigid muscular stomach as much as the next gay man but he is no one’s fool His interactions with Swift are simply marvelous The sexual teasing and charm that Swift has used so effectively on other male writers is of an irritation to Gore who may have seen some of himself in the foppish hair good looks of Swift Of course Gore had been better looking whittier and elegant ”He felt a sudden desire to anger fuck the boy then toss him over the cliffs into the sea below to watch as his body bounced off the rocks and his bones smashed into a thousand pieces” Goodness now there is a frightening view of the mind of an aging man who finds the manipulations of youthful mercenary exuberance to be something to shatter rather than preserve Of course if Swift had been polished and less overtly coldly calculating and had displayed naive charm then maybe he might have had success lowering Gore’s defenses If Swift had been born with a creative mind would he have been so feral in his interactions with his mentors his “loved” ones his proteges? If plot ideas were bubbling out of him like an erupting Vesuvius would he have felt so much desperation? Is he willing to let himself become psychopath than sociopath? I don’t think Swift would have ever been very likeable or a model of human behavior but maybe if he had been blessed with an inventive well spring of a mind his impact on those he associates with would be less catastrophic ”’I suppose it’s difficult to talk about a work in progress You never know who might steal your ideas’” There is a reason why writers are careful about discussing plots or letting too many people read their work before it is finished You don’t have to know someone like Maurice Swift to feel the need to be careful I remember once in college I was writing some fiction for fun and someone I knew with whom I shared it took all the characters’ names in my story and used them in a story he was working on It was really WEIRD I kind of laughed it off but at the same time I felt violated like something had been stolen from me He acted like it was no big deal Unbridled ambition can be a positive thing in the lives of those surrounding it or it can be a fast moving car that leaves people it touches crushed bereft and walking down a lonely road watching the taillights disappear over the horizon This is a cautionary tale about the hazards of beauty without substance Do not be fooled I can’t really imagine a serious reader or writer who would not like this book Given the numerous points of potential discussion this novel provides it would make a great book club book How far would you go to be successful? You may not go as far as Maurice Swift but what degree is acceptable? Maybe you will find out things about your book club members you never knew before If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  8. says:

    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 outline a plot or create characters so he uses his good looks and charisma to draw stories from other people His first success comes from suckering the newly famous author Erich Ackermann a man who is totally smitten with Maurice into telling him stories about his life prior to becoming a well known and respected writer This pays off for Maurice uite well propelling him into the spotlight From this point on Maurice latches on to one author after another sucking everything out them and leaving broken hearts and tragedy in his wake He does this with malice aforethought without conscience without regret He is deliciously diabolical with a deviousness one can’t help but compare to Mr Ripley This is my first novel by the famous Mr Boyne Yes you read that right I have not been tempted by his YA novel about a boy in striped PJ’s but I did want to catch “The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ but will have to pick it sometime in the future My first impression of this author is one of astonishment This book is incredible I love dark humor and deep character studies and anything that pokes a satirical stick at the publishing industry always tickles me I’m not sure why climbing into the mind of a sociopath is so mesmerizing but I was literally spellbound I couldn’t turn away couldn’t believe what I was reading It was utterly chilling Writers are all fascists We like to control the discourse and crush anyone who dares to disagree with usThe prose is exuisite especially considering the book is centered around such a despicable character The scary thing is that Boyne nails so many parts of this character and those who fall prey to his machinations as well as the environment that helped Maurice pull off his deceptions It was a little eerie to be honest but oh so fun I can’t say much without delving into the plot but I can tell you this This is my kind of book I’m so glad I managed to tuck this one in at the eleventh hour so I can add it as one of my favorite books of 2018


  9. says:

    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 life1 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 uite something to look at but he has issues with morality and is possessed of a very considerable and toxic ambition He wants to be a writer Not just any writer He wants to be a world famous writer winner of The Prize And he does have talent He can write The only problem is that he is a form without substance Maurice cannot for the life of him come up with any story ideas Luckily for Maurice the world is bubbling with such talents It is left to Maurice to attach himself to those who are able to concoct stories or even just recount good stories from real life and drain what he can from them before casting aside their empty husks We begin when young Maurice latches on to Erich Ackermann an aging gay writer who has lived almost his entire life bereft of romance Preying on Erich’s desperation Swift slowly draws from the once top tier talent a life story of unreuited love during the days of Hitler and a heinous betrayal that has haunted Ackermann all his life John Boyne image from The Guardian by Murdo Macleod We get to see Maurice from the outside until the final part of the book his marks telling us about their dealings with him Of course things are not entirely black and white Yes Maurice is awful and he does seek to take undue advantage of those he targets but his victims do not always enter into arrangements with Maurice with blinders on The experienced among them at least know that he is not exactly a choir boy while recognizing that he could pretend to be one if they wanted him to Most see that he means to feed on them and are ok with that up to a point there being some give as well as take Also in addition to being a pretty awful specimen of humanity one redeeming feature is that Maurice feels a great desire to be a father Does this make him less sociopathic? It certainly seems out of the usual range for characters of this sort And there must be a place inside us where we want Maurice to finally find his grail without having to cosh Lancelot over the head to get it Is Maurice a rake or a monster or are both merely steps on a ladder? Particularly wonderful among Maurice’s targets is a fictionalized Gore Vidal the one person Maurice targets who sees right through him The venom in this section is considerable and potent You might want to wear the sort of disposable rain slicker they give people in the front few rows of Blue Man Group performances lest you find some spatters on exposed skin and are taken down several notches Delicious fun when I was writing this I watched as many documentaries as I could I wanted to capture his voice and I felt that with somebody like that because he was so sharp so funny and so clever you've really got to raise your game I felt very sure that Vidal would be the only person in the book who would see through Maurice and not be taken in by him I worked very very hard on that section and all of his lines to make sure that they sounded right that if he was still with us and if he read it he would feel that I haven't let him down from the Goodreads interviewBoyd does a wonderful job of ratcheting up tension the same result if not the kitsch of the little child running back into room where a monster was last seen to retrieve a favorite stuffy “You idiot don’t do it Come back” We can see the perils long before his marks do and even get a pretty good idea of how Maurice is going about his crimes And we wonder just how long can this son of a bitch keep getting away with it? If you find this unrealistic I would recommend for your consideration the uestion of why Donald J Trump has not seen the inside of a jail cell for his lifetime of crimality Sometimes monsters walk free regardless of what they have done Boyne author of five novels for younger readers including the wildly successful The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and eleven novels for adults including this one has been bringing and of his personal life into his books His prior novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies looked at the life of a gay Irish man over the course of a lifetime In A Ladder to the Sky Boyne is looking at a millieu with which he is familiar lit life book tours writers and hangers on personalities dreams ambitions and disappointments Maurice was based on a part of that “He came from an experience I had a number of years ago with an aspiring writer who sort of attached himself to me” he says “We formed uite a strong friendship and it developed into an unhealthy situation I was very drawn to this man I’m no innocent in terms of how it all worked out We were both maybe using each other slightly The guy was aware of the fact that I’d a crush on him I was just charmed to be around him It eventually reached a point where I had to confront that Not that I was interested in confronting him about it but confronting myself about why I was allowing myself to be manipulated”from the Gilmartin interviewYou can enjoy this novel on two levels It is a something of a thriller watching Maurice wend his way through serial victims How far will he go what will he do to achieve his ambitions? And what will he do to keep his true self hidden? On another level this is a wonderful satire on writers and writerly ambition what they do to get ahead the networking light and dark that fuels success Whatever elements touch you we can certainly recognize in Maurice and in Boyne’s other characters a need for recognition whether in the form of personal affection or public acclaim regardless of the profession or sexual inclinations involved A Ladder to the Sky is engaging dark and wickedly funny While the rungs on Maurice’s ascent are sometimes too easily scaled he does encounter the mis step here and there You on the other hand need have no such concern Each step up will offer a wider and clearer view until you reach the top and see all A Ladder to the Sky offers a rewarding vista Enjoy the view Review posted – November 16 2018Publication date – November 13 2018I received this book from Penguin Random House’s First To Read program in return for an honest review well at least one I wrote myself Thankfully the FTR program does not reuire one to be the first to review I noted at least 200 reviews already up by GR Friends and god knows how many by people I have used and then ditched I wrote this all myself I swear I absolutely did not scan through all those earlier reviews looking for and purloining the best ideas swear to God EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal Twitter and Instagram pagesInterviews The Irish Times John Boyne We formed a strong friendship it developed into an unhealthy situation by Sarah Gilmartin Goodreads interview John Boyne Explores the Dark Side of Literary Ambition by Catherine Elsworth Publishers Weekly Haggling for Fame PW Talks with John Boyne by Kelsey Gillespie Smith Odd bits A wiki on the many sorts of ladders there are 10 Writing Tips from John Boyne My review of The Heart’s Invisible Furies


  10. says:

    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


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