n the second chapter the protagonist, Maurice Swift says, “I want to be a success. It’s all that matters to me. I’ll do whatever it takes to succeed’, and there you have it, this is the narrative for Boyne’s latest novel. Those two sentences define the character Maurice Swift. Maurice does not care what happens to anybody who stands in the way of his success. He truly is a monster with no moral compass, no empathy, no compassion, just a burning desire to be a success. His passion is writing, and he has talent with his prose, but unfortunately, he has no idea when it comes to narrative. His stories are boring, his imagination lacking. His remedy, steal, commit plagiarism, take other writer’s stories and use them as a backbone for his own. We learn of his exploits, not through his perspective, but from the perspective of the writers whose stories he has stolen, and this format works brilliantly. It keeps Maurice’s true character, the levels that he is prepared to go to, from the reader until later in the book. A dark humour hangs over the book as Boyne has a dig at the literary world, its prizes, and commercialism. But for Maurice, financial gain is never his goal. He wants to be remembered as one of the world’s great writers and will stop at nothing to achieve it. For me, this novel is all about Maurice. Boyne has given us a character who is completely unlikeable but a joy to read. 4 Stars.
Biography from goodreads,
John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.
John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.
His novels are published in over 50 languages.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008. Boyne resides in Dublin. He is represented by the literary agent Simon Trewin at WME in London, United Kingdom.
I have read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and enjoyed it very much. It is a vastly different novel to this. I have The Heart's Invisible Furies on my shelf at the moment and I have heard that it is his best work. There is a great interview with Boyne at Powell's site. Here is the link - https://www.powells.com/post/interviews/powells-interview-john-boyne-author-of-a-ladder-to-the-sky