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You’ve heard the old proverb about ambition, that it’s like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall.
If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career.
A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter.
Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn’t care where he finds it, as long as it helps 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.
This is a novel about ambition.
My review -
The title of this totally engrossing book comes from the saying that ambition is like trying to set a ladder to the sky – a pointless waste of energy. I found this story of literary ambition never less than gripping and in places it sideswiped me and appeared to change direction. It didn’t, though, and I continued to be appalled by the actions of the man whose story this really is. It’s a study in self-delusion and self-justification. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
About the author
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of three Irish Book Awards, he is the author of eleven novels for adults, five for younger readers and a collection of short stories. The international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas was made into a Miramax feature film and has sold more than six million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over fifty languages. He lives in Dublin.
Just a thought
The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn't know how to read.