A Ladder to the Sky

Hogarth: Crown. Nov. 2018. 403p. ISBN 9781984823014. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781984823038. F
OrangeReviewStarMaurice Swift intends to be the greatest novelist of his generation. Yet his ambition is greater than his ability. Equipped with a flexible concept of authorship and a knack for seizing opportunities, Swift becomes an award-winning author of significance, influencing literary tastes for a generation. His greatest work, however, is his life, the only subject that truly sets his imagination on fire. So consuming is Swift's focus that several people are destroyed by it: an older writer famed late in his career, a celebrity author of popular fiction with connections in publishing, and a young novelist celebrated for her stunning debut. No one can stand in the way of Swift's aspirations until he meets Theo Field, an aspiring biographer who uncovers the aging novelist's deceptions as well as the monster within the man. Will a prison cell finally contain Swift's ambition?
VERDICT Boyne (The Heart's Invisible Furies) expertly explores notions of originality and authorship through multiple first-person accounts of the despicable Swift. As a result, his latest novel is absorbing, horrifying, and recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/18.]
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