Maurice Swift is an aspiring young writer who will stop at
nothing to gain success and status in the literary world. He is simply waiting
for the right set of circumstances and an opportune moment. Both present
themselves in the form of an older lonely gay writer called Erich who would
enjoy the male companionship on an imminent literary tour. Add to this the fact that Erich finds Maurice “a
powerful blend of vitality and impulsive sexuality” and is somewhat enthralled
As the tour progresses and both men are comfortable in each
other’s company Maurice manages to extract from Erich a secret he has held on
to for over 40 years. He then uses this secret as the subject for his own first
published novel and the ensuing launch of his own career.
This is only the start of the story and to say more would
spoil the tension. Generally, with
Boyne, himself a gay writer, there
is humour amid the darkness. Some novelists are social commentators and John
Boyne always has something of interest to say. I enjoyed how he gently satirises
the publishing world, not least the vagaries of prizes, the insincerity of
writers meeting on the festival circuit, and the endless array of new books
Maurice Swift is a
compelling character, and a master at deception, John Boyne is a master at character detail, and creating a tense storyline.
Submitted by Paula
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