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.
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 West Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter.
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. Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.
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.
This evocative saga from Boyne (The Heart's Invisible Furies) presents the Machiavellian literary success of Maurice Swift. In the late 1980s, Swift is an aspiring writer working as a waiter in West Berlin when he meets acclaimed author Erich Ackermann. Despite Swift's inexperience, Ackermann is besotted by Swift's beauty and coy sycophancy and employs him as his assistant. In a fruitless effort to win Swift's affections, Ackermann entrusts him with his darkest secret: in 1939, information he gave SS officers led to the deaths of five people. Swift then uses Ackermann's stories as the basis of a commercially successful novel, and to incriminate Ackermann. But Ackermann is just his first victim, and for the next 30 years, Swift's ruthlessness flourishes as he manipulates others' sexual desires and talents to further his literary career. Swift's story spans the fall of the Berlin Wall to the present day as his career's demise is related from the perspectives of Ackermann; a fictionalized Gore Vidal; Swift's wife, novelist Edith Camberley; and finally Swift himself. In his relentless pursuit of literary canonization, despite creative impotence, Swift is an enthralling yet profoundly disturbing protagonist. Boyne's fast-paced, white-knuckle plot, accompanied by delightfully sardonic commentary on the ego, insecurities, and pitfalls of those involved in the literary world, makes for a truly engrossing experience. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment.