The new novel from the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Heart’s Invisible Furies , a seductive Highsmithian psychodrama following one brilliant, ruthless man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of fame.
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 opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly 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, 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…
Wow! This was my second John Boyne book and following The Hearts Invisible Furies, I had high expectations. This book was totally different and the storytelling was just truly impressive. This story follows Maurice Swift and his rise to fame as an “author”. Maurice is introduced as a handsome young man who wants nothing more than to be a famous and celebrated writer.
“I think Maurice is whatever he needs to be, whenever he needs to be it. He’s an operator, that’s for sure.”
― John Boyne, A Ladder to the Sky
Maurice is actually not a likable guy and he does “whatever it takes” to get the story. But this book keeps you hooked through its dark humor and that this story brought to life through the people that guided (and assisted) Maurice along his way.
This story was truly unique and kept me on my toes. The middle lagged for me a bit but the ending was satisfying and I enjoyed when the tables were turned. A big thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for gifting me a copy of this book, all opinions are my own.