A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne - banner

A Reading Ireland Month book 4 leaf clover w leprechan

“Ambition is putting a ladder to the sky.”
—American proverb

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent—but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.

Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall. . . .

Sweeping across the late twentieth century, A Ladder to the Sky is a fascinating portrait of a relentlessly immoral man, a tour de force of storytelling, and the next great novel from an acclaimed literary virtuoso.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

My Review:

Maurice Swift—to what ends will this brilliantly manipulative character go to cement his life’s goal—that of a successful literary author?

OMG, did this one fairly bury me in amazing characters; fascinating, narcissistic, bold, secure and begins naively enough with the introduction to aging author Erich Ackermann. Erich is inexplicably attracted to young Maurice who exudes fan adoration in Erich’s books. So when Erich invites him to act as his assistant on a book tour, Maurice jumps at the chance. Erich falls heavily for young Maurice and it doesn’t help that Maurice is exceedingly attractive and aware of his sexual appeal.

Maurice, who would LOVE to write the next prize-winning literary novel but doesn’t have a clue how to come up with his own original story is, unfortunately, willing to do anything. Then Erich entrusts him with his most shameful haunting secrets and there’s Maurice’s story. It’s dark and deliciously deadly. It ultimately destroys Erich when it comes out but Maurice basks in the success. He can neatly and effectively avoid any guilt. It is, of course, Erich’s disgraceful act during the war that leads to the public outcry against him.

But while Maurice as despot is the main character, there comes a succession of deeply emotive characters, gripping, engaging. The well-developed part of Maurice’s wife; easy to love, sweet unsophisticated, and trusting, her POV comes to the forefront—for a short while.

Remember that old saying, “When the Gods want to punish us, they answer our prayers.” [Oscar Wilde]

Maurice always wanted to have a child of his own. In the meantime, there is a series of name-dropping that includes Gore (Vidal) whose conversations lead to some very witty, insightful glances into the cut-throat world of the literary (…that hack Swift). Dog eat dog. How far is Maurice willing to go to succeed, to be the one with the next bestseller. His bestseller or not?

A Ladder to the Sky by John BoyneAt each turn, the plot goes from benign to cancerous, bland to black, and soon this reader is turning pages over jaw-dropping twists you wouldn’t have believed, was it not for the continued fleshing of the moral character of Maurice. Is he capable of this? Oh yes, he is. And it’s becoming frightening.

Maurice is a master at rationalization—he can always see where the fault lay in the other—himself as the innocent who merely provided the catalyst to the story—made it better. Why shouldn’t he reap the reward?

And then the end, when you think it’s caught up with him? The irony? The last laugh is on you, fellow reader. It’s a gotcha!

Now, have you ever wondered what the words are under the title? I know what it is. Have you read this book? Want to discuss it or are you curious what it says under the title? Ask me in the comments.

One last thought: The narrators did a superlative job on this audiobook, most especially that inebriate voice. So realistic. This novel still resonates with me and will for some time. I’ll look for more books from this author.

Book Details:

Genre: LGBTQ, Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B07FW4C8BC
Listening Length: 11 hrs 32 mins
Narrators: Richard E. GrantRichard CorderyNina SosanyaLaurence Kennedy
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Ladder to the Sky [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

 

John Boyne - authorThe Author: John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971. The winner of three Irish Book Awards, he is the author of thirteen novels for adults, six 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 eleven million copies worldwide. His novels are published in over fifty languages. He lives in Dublin. http://www.johnboyne.com.

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship by Charles Casillo – #BookReview – #Biographies of the Rich & Famous

“Monty, Elizabeth likes me, but she loves you.”
—Richard Burton
 

Book Blurb:

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles CosilloWhen Elizabeth Taylor was cast opposite Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun, he was already a movie idol, with a natural sensitivity that set him apart. At seventeen, Elizabeth was known for her ravishing beauty rather than her talent. Directors treated her like a glamorous prop. But Monty took her seriously, inspiring and encouraging her. In her words, “That’s when I began to act.”

To Monty, she was “Bessie Mae,” a name he coined for her earthy, private side. The press clamored for a wedding, convinced this was more than friendship. The truth was even more complex. Monty was drawn to women but sexually attracted to men—a fact that, if made public, would destroy his career. But he found acceptance and kinship with Elizabeth. Her devotion was never clearer than after his devastating car crash near her Hollywood home, when she crawled into the wreckage and saved him from choking.

Monty’s accident shattered his face and left him in constant pain. As he sank into alcoholism and addiction, Elizabeth used her power to keep him working. In turn, through scandals and multiple marriages, he was her constant. Their relationship endured until his death in 1966, right before he was to star with her in Reflections in a Golden Eye. His influence continued in her outspoken support for the gay community, especially during the AIDS crisis.

Far more than the story of two icons, this is a unique and extraordinary love story that shines new light on both stars, revealing their triumphs, demons—and the loyalty that united them to the end.

My Review:

Classic Hollywood—the era of the huge stars—beautiful and tragic. Guess that would describe both of these Hollywood legends.

Holy smokes! I certainly remember Liz Taylor and all her men but only a scant recollection of Montgomery Clift; saw few of his movies. (We never had money for movies back then.) Still, I might have lived the rest of my life not knowing the madness of Clift. Taylor was pretty much a headline ALL the time.

“Sexually, she was every man’s dream. She had the face of an angel and the morals of a truck driver.” – Eddie Fisher

I have to give it to author Casillo for all the research that went into this biography. Monty Clift was a successful Broadway actor when sixteen year old Elizabeth met him. Two polar opposites drawn to each other initially by their common experience of having been thrust into the spotlights by stage mothers.

“Before forty you have the face you were born with; after forty you get the face you deserve.” – Elizabeth Taylor

“If someone’s dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I’m certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth and Monty by Charles  CasilloThe chapters trade off alternately Taylor’s experiences and then Clift’s experiences. There was a LOT of name dropping, most names easily recognizable, as well as some fascinating behind the scenes tidbits about films, particularly those in which both starred.

There is a great deal of description which is then repeated, portions spun, rinsed and repeated. With so many names involved in the narrative perhaps dropping a name more than once was appropriate. However, I got the point the first time.

We knew about Elizabeth’s penchant for men, for excitement, the thrill of the conquests and affairs (eight marriages), her tragedies, the drinking, the pills. We knew that Monty Clift was gay when it was dangerous to be so. We didn’t know of his destructive nature, the booze, the drugs, the pills and his propensity to go off the deep end into unnaturally offensive behavior, swiping dishes off the table in well-known expensive restaurants and then eating off the floor. Spinning into alcoholic, drug induced days, it became impossible to insure him for films, but he was already exhibiting self-destructive behavior before that horrific accident that changed forever that beautiful face. Currently on pre-order.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary uncorrected review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

Add to Goodreads

Book Details:

Genre: LGBTQ, Biographies of the Rich & Famous
Publisher: Kensington Books

  • ASIN : B08GYBH611

Print Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Charles Casillo - authorThe Author: Charles Casillo is the author of the novels “The Fame Game,” and “The Marilyn Diaries,” the biography, “Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy” (the authorized life history of the legendary writer and hustler), and a collection of stories “Boys, Lost & Found.” His latest book is a serious and comprehensive biography of Monroe: “Marilyn Monroe: The Private Life of a Public Icon.” The author says, “It will introduce you to the Marilyn Monroe you always wanted to know.”

Casillo’s profiles, short stories, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Vice, Interview, and many others. He has appeared in Monroe documentaries “Behind the Headlines: Marilyn and Her Men,” on Lifetime, and “Whatever Happened to Norma Jeane,”

His movies include “Let Me Die Quietly,” a neo-noir thriller and the dark comedy “Fetish”(with Joan Collins.)

Casillo was born in New York City. He has spent many years exploring and documenting his interests and obsessions, such as exceptionally talented people, strange encounters in various bars, Marilyn Monroe, eccentrics, sex, tragic figures, and antidotes to insomnia, insecurity, and loneliness. He has written about these and other subjects in his works. He divides his time between New York, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and other places where he hangs his hat.

©2021 V Williams

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

BEST WEB DESIGNING INSTITUTE

Let's talk

Vibe alone for a while

Barbara Crane Navarro

Rainforest Art Project - Pas de Cartier !

RealStuff by RealMe

Before, After, Then, Now and NEVER!

Islamic Dua and Wazifa For Love back and Solve All problems

Love problem Solution in just 2 Days: Lost love back, ex love back, ex husband back, ex boyfriend and other all love problem Solution. Call and Whatsapp +91 9571300113

Poetic reflections

Poetry and expression of ideas

Julia's Bookshelves

Book Reviews, Reccomendations, & Travel

stephiebooks.wordpress.com/

Book Reviews, Tags, Vlogs, & More.

a.mermaid'spen_

I read, rant and write ;)

PHOTO.RİP

PHOTO.RİP

Beneath The Bones

seeking inspiration

Learning Thursdays

It takes strength to show vulnerability!

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

ARBIND KUMAR BLOG

arbindkumar475151597. wordpress.com

Bhuvana Chakra

The Power of Living God Ministries

The Wild Coach

You are an important nexus of energy

Virtualidades

Blog do jornalista e professor Solon Saldanha

Happiness for a moment with you....

I'm glad I learned to express my thoughts clearly and everyone loves to read them. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking power to think about the surroundings. Someone who likes it, someone who enjoys it, appreciates that he is writing very well. Reading and commenting on the post I wrote would give me a lot of bullshit and I would get new ideas to write new ones. I'm really glad I got your response.

Brian Cook's Blog

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers. - Oscar Wilde

Writing Roses

Welcome to the Roses

Sophrosyne

I'm a Doctor with so many random thoughts, so I decided to blog.

Scott Clark | Teaching, Writing, Research

Portal to primary school blogs, research and resources | Middle Years/Young Adult story writing

UNITBALL

a medical education website

Endless dreams and boundless imaginations!

We only live once. Hence, let's not stop dreaming

readingtonic

book reviews

Competitive World

Your Competitive Exam Companion

News from Ibonoco

Moments de vie, fragments de textes et quelques notes...

Poet The Mirror

Poetry My Religion

Foster Your Writing

Write Like You Know What You're Doing

A Lifetime of Pages

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ~C.S. Lewis

SUSANNE LEIST

Author of Paranormal Suspense

psychologistmimi

Food, Road Trips & Notes from the Non-Profit Underground

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

daneelyunus

This site is about the knowledge of different categories such as education, , health, mobiles, and tourism

culturevultureexpress

A little bit of everything

Yolanda och hennes kreativa skrik

Aspergers syndrom, bipolaritet, fotografi, konst, poesi.

City Of Brides (Dating Single Ukrainian Girls)

Meet your beautiful Ukrainian bride in the "City of Brides"

Trust and Believe In The Unseen

Live with More Light & Faith by CM.

%d bloggers like this: