A Ladder to the Sky

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A Ladder to the Sky charts the destructive path of Maurice Swift, an ambitious aspiring novelist. As a talented wordsmith, he knows he has the ability to polish any story to perfection — but where will he find the plot to use as his foundation?

Working as a waiter in a Berlin hotel, Maurice has a chance encounter with Erich Ackermann, a prize-winning writer who is instantly attracted to Maurice’s youthful charm. Their brief friendship will change both their lives forever — catapulting Maurice to international fame while thoroughly destroying Erich’s reputation.

Written with Boyne’s sharp wit, compelling characters, and page-turning twists, A Ladder to the Sky is the fascinating portrait of a true literary villain.

 “I longed to write a new novel, of course, to get back in the game, but the old problem that has plagued my life since my teenage years reared its head once again. I changed city, social groups and daily routine in the vain hope that this might produce a good idea, but none came.  My creative abilities remained in abeyance. I wrote a book that even I could tell was hopeless and it was rejected by my publisher during a highly unpleasant face-to-face encounter, where I may have behaved in a manner ill suited to a man of my accomplishments [...] For a time, I feared that I was finished. The greatest writer of his generation, stalled for lack of an original thought.  Really, I should have had more self-belief. If I’d learned nothing else since leaving Yorkshire at the end of the 1980s, it was that, like the proverbial cat, I had the habit of landing on my feet.”

John Boyne is the author of books for both children and adults, including The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Heart's Invisible Furies, A History of Loneliness, Stay Where You Are and Then Leave, and A Ladder to the Sky. Born in Dublin, Boyne also writes regular book reviews for The Irish Times. 

Published: 2018
Length: 366 pages
Main Settings: London and Norwich, England; New York City, New York, U.S.
Secondary Settings:
Berlin, Germany; Amalfi Coast, Italy