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'A Ladder to the Sky’ is a wonderfully paced novel, from the talented storyteller John Boyne, about the darker side of ambition and the lengths that might be taken to acquire and exploit them. An addictive and intoxicating page turner - to help you find your reading mojo!

- best book club reads - 





Den scores




434 pages

You’ve heard the old proverb… about setting a ladder to the sky. A pointless waste of energy’.

Not this story, though…

'A Ladder to the Sky’ is a wonderful summer tonic about the darker side of ambition and the lengths that might be taken to acquire and exploit them. Written by the talented and wonderful storyteller, John Boyne, this is an addictive and intoxicating page turner that will help book clubbers find their reading mojo!

‘A Ladder to the Sky’ starts in Berlin, 1988, just before the wall comes down. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel opens up an opportunity for the young English man, Maurice Swift, who at this time, is an ambitious writer waiting on tables to get by. The strikingly handsome Maurice attracts the distinguished author, Erich Ackerman’s attention, who offers him a job as an assistant on his planned book tour around Europe in exchange for Maurice's company. Erich is an award winning author but is lonely and happy to help Maurice with literary introductions and insights into his own career and how to find a good story. His advice includes ‘Everyone has secrets….There’s something in all our pasts that we wouldn’t want to be revealed.’.

Unfortunately for Erich, he confides his darkest secret with Maurice who identifies this as the ‘story’, ‘the secret’ that he will tell the world in his debut novel.

In true Boyne style, his story-telling is effortless. The reader is guided back to Erich’s younger days as a teenager and then forwards to Maurice’s own literary encounters with Gore Vidal in the Italian Riviera and later chapters in his own life in London and New York where he hunts down his next prey.

From the author of ‘The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas’ and ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’ this is another heart racing Missed Opportunity read (2018) welcomed by Boyne fans with a bounty of talking points for your book club about the literary world, the coveted awards and the origins of a good story. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on favourite reads from this imaginative writer and there are plenty to choose from. 8 and 9s from the Den this time around.

If you are ahead of your club consider Boyne's new novel ‘The Echo Chamber’ (August 2021).

- for people who love books - 

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