A Ladder to the Sky

A Ladder to the Sky

A Novel

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Aspiring writer Maurice Swift, whose desire for fame exceeds his talent, uses a chance meeting with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann in a West Berlin hotel in 1988 to obtain secrets about Ackermann's wartime activities, which becomes material for his 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.
Publisher: London ;, New York :, Hogarth,, [2018]
Edition: First United States edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781984823014
Branch Call Number: F Boyne
Characteristics: 362 pages ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 10, 2019

This book is popular fiction and a page-turned about a horrible person motivated solely by ambition to be writer and the consequences.

Jul 17, 2019

Well written, makes us confront what a slippery slope life is.

Mar 27, 2019

Excellent book. It poses numerous moral issues. Great for a book club selection, so much to discuss in terms of ethics and character. Interesting twists with some real life individuals introduced in the fiction book. Also, an interesting take on how the story is told, through multiple personalities and not exactly in the 1st person or 2nd or 3rd.
It also provides an insider view of the book publishing business and how success is created.
A bit too pat of an ending though. I sort of wished the author had not done that. Life doesn't always work that way.

Mar 19, 2019

A Ladder to the Sky tells the story of aspiring author Maurice Swift who lacks talent but possesses good looks and charm. His charisma allows him to exploit others to achieve his goal, unconcerned with who is destroyed in the process. The power of John Boyne’s writing is that knowing everything I knew about the character, I myself was charmed by Maurice Swift and couldn't wait to read about where his ambition takes him.

The novel’s composition was compelling, with each chapter driven by a different character in Maurice’s life. Boyne’s most ambitious chapter included writing American author Gore Vidal into the novel and revealing Vidal’s impressions of Maurice Swift. I was pessimistic about how Boyne would execute this but, in the end, I think it made the novel even better. The book is full of other literary references which I sometimes appreciated but sometimes felt that they made the writing arrogant until I remembered the arrogance of the characters reflected.

It’s difficult to review this dark story about unlikeable characters but A Ladder to the Sky is thrilling and difficult to put down (like being unable to look away from a train wreck). Also, the novel is convoluted enough that I, at times, questioned whose side I was on.

Mar 06, 2019

"I just need to be a writer, that's all. It's all I've ever needed to be."
I had somewhat low expectations for this novel by Irish writer John Boyne, partly because of the forgettable title and partly because of the awful cover, although that's not his fault. But the novel, split into three sections and two interludes, really surprised me. It's protagonist, who has been compared to Tom Ripley, is a writer who avoids the usual struggles of a writer by stealing stories and ideas from other people, starting with an acclaimed German writer with a dark past. It's best not to go in without knowing too much of the plot. It gets quite dark, which I liked and though the protagonist is despicable, he's compelling. Gore Vidal appears as a character in one part. Boyne's better know for the very successful children's book "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas."


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top