Monday, 29 April 2019

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - Book Review

After I read The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne last year, it quickly became a lifetime fav. I was delighted when Penguin Random House Canada sent me a review copy of his next release, A Ladder to the Sky.

Following a book that received the kind of critical and commercial acclaim Furies did likely came with no small amount of pressure for the author. I'm pleased to say that, while A Ladder to the Sky is completely different than Furies, I was not disappointed!


A Ladder to the Sky tells the story of Maurice Swift, a writer who will stop at nothing (and I mean absolutely nothing) to achieve success and fame in the literary world.

Nearly all of the characters in this book are unlikeable and infuriating. Most of the time, I couldn't decide if I loved A Ladder to the Sky or hated it. It's clever, chilling, and scandalous. Watching Maurice manipulate every single person around him felt like watching a train wreck over and over and over again. However, Boyne's writing is outstanding, and I know I was feeling exactly what he intended me to feel as the reader of this novel.

I also love that Boyne gives the reader a peek inside the world of publishing. Is the volume of books published each year too high? What is the value of literary prizes? How do women carve out a voice in a traditionally male-dominated industry? At what point does an idea or experience become shared and no longer yours alone? When does ambition become manipulation? How guilty are we of sins we commit in youth or duress?

Lastly, it is interesting to read a book about a shady author after following the #copypastecris drama on Twitter earlier this year. The short version of this story is that there is a romance author who has allegedly plagiarized parts of her novels from over 90 other books written by over 40 authors (including Nora Roberts and Diana Gabeldon, to name a few). The story of Maurice Swift may be imagined, but what makes this novel so compelling is that I do not think it would be much of a stretch to turn this work of fiction into one of non-fiction.

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this novel for review purposes from Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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