Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Ladder to the Sky; John Boyne

AUTHOR:  John Boyne
PUB. YEAR: 2018
SETTING:  Germany, Amalfi Coast, NYC and London
RATING - 4.5/5

Just who is Maurice Swift, the protagonist and sociopath, of this delightful literary novel?  We first meet him in 1988 when he is working as a waiter at a West Berlin hotel's restaurant.  He's a guy who wants to a writer but, he's lazy and has no talent; he does have charm though.  He figures he doesn't have to give up on his dreams to become a success, why not just find another way to achieve his goal.

His first opportunity to achieve that literary success is when he meets a somewhat famous, but lonely, older novelist named Erich Ackermann.  Maurice is full of charm and compliments and quickly has won the trust of Ackermann who in a weak moment shares some private, secrets from his past which Maurice sees as excellent material for a successful novel. He takes what he's learned and turns it into his own successful book. He isn't satisfied just yet either,  he's certain he's capable of even more literary success, and you can be sure he'll find another unsuspecting, talented victim soon.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delicious novel. The handsome, but sinister Maurice is not a character I will easily forget. Was he unlikeable, yes, but memorable all the same. This is a guy who knows when and what buttons to push to manipulate others for his own personal gain. There were a few parts which were a bit slow, but overall, this a pleasant treat. I must say that I loved the ending as well. Try It!


  1. I know one other person who's read, and loved, this novel, but the size intimidates me. I need to find a quiet time to pick it up.

  2. That sounds really interesting!

  3. So, a scumbag who gains success off the work of others, it's a good premise! Glad this was enjoyable.

  4. I know a few people who sound a bit like Maurice.

  5. I doubt I'll enjoy the scumbag!

  6. I keep hearing about this one. May have to try this author.

  7. Maurice sounds like quite the character. Wants to be a writer but has no talent. LOL.

  8. Hi Diane,
    I'm so very happy to hear that you really liked this one. I think Boyne is a wonderful writer, and I had this book on my list of books to be read, and am glad to hear you liked it. So I will put a few extra stars next to this title.

  9. Oh I'm glad you liked this one. I had been on the fence about whether to pick it up .... but you make it seem very enjoyable. I'll get it back on my list

  10. I'm reading this now. Maurice just met Gore Vidal :)


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