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This is my first John Boyne book and I really enjoyed his writing. However, when the protagonist is so unlikable, it always takes the enjoyment awya for me. Also, I just felt like I could predict everything that was going to happen, so although I wanted to see how it played out, the book wasn't an exciting page turner to me.
Having finished The Heart’s Invisible Furies recently, I was excited about this one. And sadly this one just didn’t do it for me. It was beautifully written and the story was interesting, but it was a rather unsatisfying read. Probably intentional as Maurice’s actions are despicable. Even more infuriating is that he gets away with murder, his only downfall was his guilt. Which was a nice end, but not enough to make up previous atrocities.
I was also bothered by a mistake that happens in the book. Edith’s first novel is called “Fear” during part 2, but in part 3 they refer to it as “Fury”. Also, Dash Hardy releases a novel called “The Codicil of Agnès Fontaine”, isn’t that one of Maude Avery’s novel from the Heart’s Invisible Furies? Which is fine, they are different books after all, but later in A Ladder to the Sky, Maurice picks up Like to the Lark by Maude Avery, which establishes her in this universe, thus creating a conflict with the other title.
So I love the book and I love Boyne. It and he are flippin' fantastic. But I'm super curious about the real- life characters of the book. I'd like to think of myself as semi-cultured, but I have never heard of anyone who shares the same name as those in the book. After reading through the comments though I saw someone mentioned Ackermann and Gore as actual people. Is this true? How much of their life is fictionally/ factually represented in the novel? Are there other characters as well? I'll do some research myself, but I would also love to hear what everyone else thinks about this device.
This book was one of my favorites this year. I loved to hate Maurice Swift and thought the change in perspectives was very different in a good way. I am curious about John Boyne now and how much of this comes from his own personal life.
I rather enjoyed the different narrators throughout the book, it added a bit of mystery until the end. I was hooked by Maurice’s irritatingly persistent self-serving and pathological behavior; just when you think he can do no worse, he does. Seemingly sociopathic, Maurice shows some vulnerability and emotion at the end that make you almost feel sorry. The ending is a bit of a double twist; after everything Maurice still can’t help himself but to stick to his old ways. Boyne really hits on the frightening consequences produced by those with only regard for themselves.
I liked the first section of the story, but I was disturbed by the second section, entitled "The Swallows Nest." I don't really want to read graphic comments on gay sex and the choices men have. I didn't continue reading and have gotten rid of the book.
There's a thematic characteristic that I think is relevant to every person's life in some form. I guess you could call it, Betrayal. From either side of this occurrence, it's something that very few can live down or forget for too long a period of time. I think the universality of betrayal, either regarding an idea or a person, is something that needs to be examined in every person's life. As you get older, the examinations come quicker and with more bite.
The novel was engaging and sometimes a page-turner. Slowed towards the end. The main character’s inability ever to make a choice with higher moral ground was a repeated disappointment. I feel the ending would have been better as a tragic shocker instead of wrapped up in a nice neat bow. Clues to who Theo was instead of the author spelling it out for the reader would have been great. Overall a good read but I wasn’t wowed.
This book was interesting and original. I really enjoyed the read. I have read The Heart's Invisible Furies, also really good, which was one of the selections by this author last year. I plan to read some of his other books as well. Glad I made this my choice for November.