A psychological drama of cat and mouse, ‘A Ladder to the Sky’ shows how easy it is to achieve the world if you are prepared to sacrifice your soul. If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely. Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top.
A Ladder to the Sky
‘A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft . . . an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation.’ Hannah Beckerman, Observer
You’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, that it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall.
If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career.
A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter.
Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn’t care where he finds it, as long as it helps him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.
This is a novel about ambition.
‘Maurice Swift, the novelist protagonist of John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky, is a bookish version of Patricia Highsmith’s psychopathic antihero Tom Ripley’ The Times
‘A dark morality tale in the mould of Patricia Highsmith . . . consistently intriguing’ Daily Mail