Read Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat Online


Robert is at a crossroads. Just retired from a brilliant career as a UN manager in humanitarian aid, he could work as a high-level consultant or pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. He chooses the latter to the dismay of his wife Kay. Twenty years his junior, Kay is a lover of Contemporary Art, deeply involved in her work as the owner of a trendy art gallery iRobert is at a crossroads. Just retired from a brilliant career as a UN manager in humanitarian aid, he could work as a high-level consultant or pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. He chooses the latter to the dismay of his wife Kay. Twenty years his junior, Kay is a lover of Contemporary Art, deeply involved in her work as the owner of a trendy art gallery in New York. She is horrified by his academic paintings. They fight over Art - he’s square, she’s cool - but more separates them than diverging views on Art. A secret Kay has never revealed weighs on their marriage and threatens to break it apart…This is the second edition, fully revised and with new material, of “A Hook in the Sky” (published in 2012). In contrast to the first edition that reflected only Robert’s point of view, we now have Kay with all her emotions and opinions. As a result, the book resonates with the complexities and wistfulness of mature passion and is focused on romance the second time around. The title was changed to reflect this new dimension. Editorial Reviews: Highlights from Writer’s Digest and Reader's Favorite(comments concern the first edition, “A Hook in the Sky”): From the Judge, Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards: - “This book shows an impressive knowledge of art and art history, as well as technique…it gives a sense of place and time to the story… I really enjoyed the descriptions of the cities and the art.”From Reader’s Favorite:- "it's unpredictable, which adds extra interest to this well written and entertaining hooks the reader's attention from the very start" (Stephanie Dagg )- "a deeply thoughtful story of one man's life and how he comes to peace with his mission in life... it conveys a message that will last in the readers' minds long after the story is finished” (Alice D.)...

Title : Crimson Clouds
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 16005794
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 222 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Crimson Clouds Reviews

  • Bob Rector
    2019-03-04 07:10

    The best books take us on a journey of discovery. Crimson Clouds takes the reader on a very personal journey to the often arcane landscape of the human spirit and its quest to express and understand the common beauty surrounding us that is too often overlooked. The central character, Robert, retiring from years fighting the tangled, self-serving web of bureaucracy at the United Nations, wants nothing more than to paint traditional canvases of the world as he sees it. The scenes of him stocking up with painting gear are so vivid that you can see every hue in every tube and smell the turpentine. His wife, twenty years his junior, who owns a prestigious New York gallery, is less than supportive. She is only interested in “conceptual” art and only because it sells. The journey we take with Robert as he tries to understand himself and his reason for existing is exciting, adventurous, darkly humorous, and quite poignant. It is played out in Italian locations in Sicily and Umbria, then moves on to the art worlds of Paris and London. In the process, Robert discovers passion with two free-spirited women that far exceeds what he has known with his wife. The climax is both tragic and triumphant. That Ms. Nougat knows of which she writes is evident in every word. With equal precision she skewers today's pompous art world and the maddening machinations of the U.N., both of which pale in comparison to the complexities of the human heart. The writer's words flow as gently and clearly as a mountain stream. A stimulating and highly recommended read.

  • Lee Holz
    2019-02-26 07:10

    For me, author Claude Nougat’s writing is always characterized by fluidity and internal logic, never more so than in her latest, A Hook in the Sky. This is all the more striking because it goes unnoticed except upon reflection at the conclusion of reading the book and never intrudes on the story. Beyond style and skill, her characters are true individuals, unique in their values and sensibilities, as real as those one knows or meets. Having said this, it seems to me that the protagonist, Robert, is inevitably and eternally separated by the mandates of gender from the women to whom he is connected and from whom he is alienated. It is remarkable that a woman could create and bring him fully to life. I hope I do half as well with my female characters.Author Nougat has written that this book is a baby boomer novel. I see it as contemporary, a “post-liberation” work where the full dimensions of individuals of both genders interact creating conflict and clarity. In any event, the book is an outstanding piece of literary fiction.

  • Julie
    2019-03-08 08:12

    Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat is a 2014 release. This book was originally published under the title A Hook in the Sky. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.This book is a study of a married couple dealing with major life changes and the affect these changes has on their marriage. Twenty years younger than Robert, Kay is an contemporary artist with a life of her own and no desire to become a parent. Robert has worked as a UN humanitarian aid manager and always wanted children. Now that he is retiring he has decided to focus on art instead of becoming a consultant with the UN. This throws Kay and Robert together in a way had not been for years and all the cracks in the marriage begin to widen. If any of you have listened to your parents describing retirement or you and your spouse are adjusting to that change yourself, you will be able to identify to some extent to what happened between Kay and Robert. With no children to buffer the gap that has grown between them, long buried secrets and resentments come to light causing the marriage to crumble. Robert's decision to pursue art backfires on him in ways he could never have imagined. The story becomes darker and more depressing as Robert begins looking for something that just isn't there. Robert's long awaited freedom is not all it's cracked up to be and he winds up feeling totally lost. He sort of drifts for awhile and begins one affair and then another. He finds this does not satisfy either. He and Kay have lived in two separate worlds for so long and the marriage looks totally broken, but then Robert and Kay begin to work on art together. The book then takes an even darker turn. The magnifying glass is on the world of art in the contemporary setting compared to Robert's view of art . The details are so vivid we can envision the art and the locales as well as feel empathy for Robert as he realizes he relied too heavily on his expectations and daydreams for the transition from career to retirement. Finally, Robert gives in to the reality of what his true gift is and accepts it. While some may find that dissatisfying, I found his desicion to be one of maturity and growth. I think Robert will find peace and contentment in his future now that he has left behind the pretentious world he sought to fit into. I never could decide how to feel about Kay. I thought the choices she made earlier in the marriage were selfish and while Robert didn't handle the situation all that well, what Kay did was just terrible. Her attitudes later in the book were simply shocking. I understand why this book has been labeled as a baby boomer novel , although I am only on the cusp of that era, I felt the book dealt with the topics of aging and transition and the feelings associated with these issues in a unique and creative way. This is certainly a thought provoking novel , very well written and insightful. This is a five star rating.

  • Sandra
    2019-03-22 05:10

    I note that various other readers have commented that Hook in the Sky is set in the rarefied worlds of contemporary Art and International Politics far away from average lives of Boomers And I take their point. However, these merely add an extra layer of interest and otherwise all baby boomers should be able to identify with the way in which the main character, Robert, tackles the dilemma of how to go forward into retirement. Personally I really enjoyed the way he experimented with various new relationships and ways of life, like trying on new coats to see if they would fit. It reminded me of doing something very similar as a young adult. Now, as we become free of all those responsibilities and other people’s expectations, we start to question what really matters to us. It is just as urgent a search for identity as the one we had in our youth. Claude does well to remind us of this. This is classic Boomer Lit. I only had one disappointment with the book. At the beginning she seemed to be setting up a character as a villain, but that was dropped and it seems to me that it is a dangling thread which should have been knitted in.

  • Roderick Low
    2019-02-22 03:18

    These days, there is a form of resigned, dignified panic beating in the breasts of so-called ‘baby boomers’. We were the product of the nuclear age, the youths that listened to misquoted politicians talking about the ‘white heat of technology’, the beneficiaries of sexual freedoms devoured hungrily and the generation that matured into a world of endless employment opportunities, grown tired and disillusioned as our optimism and idealism came to nothing. We have turned, instead, to the pursuit of creative retirement and feather-bedding our old age. Robert, the hero of this excellent and satisfying novel, has lived the dream better than most. His privileged and interesting childhood, followed by wise life choices and hard work, result in him holding a powerful position at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where he lives with his pretty and talented wife, Kay, who, at 40, is twenty years his junior. Each day his chauffeur ferries him to work while his wife enthusiastically develops her art gallery. So far, life is good. But behind the impression they convey, all is not perfect. He wanted a child, she didn’t. They both love art, but at opposite ends of the spectrum – he traditional, she unashamedly modern. He paints his canvasses for relaxation while she deals in art for business reasons. Robert’s retirement, which is the point at which the book opens, irritates her – he finds himself with nothing to do while she is rushed off her feet and would appreciate his involvement in her world. What perhaps Robert and Kay do not appreciate is, that with age, comes a growing fatigue and reduced capacity for involvement. But the mind does not age. Robert dabbles in the idea of seriously taking up his art again, encouraged by his ageless and slightly potty nonagenarian mother living in the Paris of his childhood. He also undertakes some consultancy work for the UN, partly as a result of pressure from his wife. Furthermore, he tries to recreate the passion and intimacy their marriage, revisiting their honeymoon hotel and dropping in on the house they bought as a holiday home in Italy some years before. But, above all, he thinks and questions both himself and his wife. Shock revelations and chance encounters derail Robert, haunted by the recurring leitmotif of ‘too late’ – it’s now too late for the baby boomers. He leaves his home and takes up with a friend from his youth. She is a photographer. What better than recreating the post-war optimism and joy of Doisneau combined with his own painting? But their idea, to capture people travelling on the Metro on film and canvas, is doomed from the outset. Such an audacious project, even by well-known artists, would be a risky undertaking and, although she has a reputation as a photo-journalist, he is unknown as a painter. She sells a little, he nothing at all. As the project dies, so does their ill-conceived love affair and, sadly, his mother. He retreats to his Italian bolt-hole where an unexpected visitor inspires him to paint and perhaps begin to think outside the box of his beautifully executed but cement-booted landscapes. Kay’s return on the scene and her deep love for her confused and unhappy husband result in a return to purpose for them both. New and unexpected success is followed by tragedy and he withdraws again to what he knows best, a rewarding UN contract out in the field in Bangladesh and the safety blanket of his landscapes. But, with the UN contract, his confidence returns. He can still ‘hack it’. Kay at last appreciates her husband as a man and as an artist and, in turn, Robert sees his future with Kay positively. Claude Nougat has perfectly captured the dilemma of the aging baby-boomer. She writes from a position of great authority – she knows her characters and subjects inside out. She tells a good story beautifully and has, to an extent, amply filled a rich vein of storytelling that so many of us would like to emulate. We baby-boomers may have had it all, it may indeed now be ‘too late’ for us, but we are not finished yet. Don’t write us off until we are gone. Roderick Craig Low. Author of ‘England 2026. After the Discord’.

  • Alana Woods
    2019-03-09 08:14

    This is another quality, albeit short, read from Nougat. Well-thought out plotline, character depth, polished prose. What more could you ask for.This book tackles the elemental story of aging. In common with YA fiction it looks into one of life’s transitions, this one the transition from work to retirement, from a life of busyness—if not usefulness—to one of what to do with oneself when one no longer has a primary purpose.Nougat is in fact the initiator and driving force behind the next big thing in genres: baby boomer literature, be it fiction or non-fiction. A HOOK IN THE SKY is her first contribution. If the online airplay Nougat is receiving is any guide it’s generating massive interest.The story follows a childless couple from the day of husband Robert’s—French—retirement from the UN. His wife Kay—American—is 20 years younger and a contemporary art gallery owner. They have nothing in common, a fact that comes very much to the fore once Robert’s no longer working. He rekindles his interest in painting. Locations shift from the US to Italy to France as Robert and Kay separate then come together again with a big art project, all the while Robert exploring what else life has to offer, namely other women.What’s wrong with the book? Well, I prefer longer novels but that’s not a criticism. The plot and characters don’t suffer, they’re well developed.My one criticism is that the story is told from Robert’s point of view except for several brief instances where it swaps to Kay’s. I didn’t like this. If you’re going to swap points of view, give the characters equal time. As it is it looks like the author has inadvertently veered or hasn’t figured out how to convey what Kay is thinking or feeling any other way. However, it’s a small criticism.I enjoyed the read. I can see it having general appeal—not just to the BB age group—because it draws in so much.I imagine Nougat used her own experience to build the character of Robert. She worked at the UN herself and is a painter. I loved the details about art and painting. In one particular scene Robert is choosing what paint colours to buy. I’m not going to tell you the wonderful descriptions Nougat gives them, you’re going to have to read the book yourself for that delight.As for the cover design, its meaning becomes very clear towards the end of the novel.

  • Soul
    2019-02-21 04:11

    A Hook in the Sky belongs to a relatively new genre called “Baby Boomer” or BB in short. The theme that ran through this genre is about, the questions and difficulties faced by a person after retirement. Questions like, “now that my work is behind me, who am I?" or "What can I do in my remaining years?” these questions have bogged brightest of minds and turned them into rusty old person... but not anymore.Story starts when protagonist Robert is all set to get voluntary retirement from his chair in the United Nations office. The thing that I most liked about this genre (and this book particularly) is that it can appeal to a very wide range of readers including teens, parents and grandparents all the same. :)Author Claude Nougat has shown with example of Robert that you can do whatever you wish, and only sky's the limit. "Retirement" can also mean to follow lifelong hobby or it may also mean to follow dreams (Like Robert who is a painter at heart). Author points out that it’s a whole new world out there, with lot of potential.Compelling and true to life character depiction are few of the things to look forward to in Miss Nougat’s writing. Author creates a world which relates to every reader. There are various lines that grabbed my attention, like this one “The United Nation was anything but united and working here often felt like swimming through cross currents, never knowing which currents pushed where or why they changed.” :)Reading this book was an awesome experience, in a sense that, First book I read from Miss Nougat a fantasy-cum-adventure novel was a totally different genre from “A Hook in the Sky”. Still the author has not only managed to keep the story clean of clichés but also made it very graceful. The same experience I had when I read “The Casual Vacancy” by you know who :pI have read "The Phoenix Heritage" trilogy, one of the books by Miss Nougat. And thus from past experience I knew her writing will be a good read, and it certainly is. The book is all about identifying various issues faced by retirees and suggesting few solutions along the way, all wrapped up in a good story. On Concluding notes, a great novel with loads to learn. It deserves 5 out of 5 points.

  • Michael Murphy
    2019-03-03 08:02

    Like the novel, Robert, the main character in A Hook In the Sky, is not without flaws. He hates his job at the United Nations and detests his boss of the past ten years. Yet retirement promises little improvement. He’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a woman who owns an art gallery and has no respect for his work or his rediscovered interest in art. Claude Nougat takes the reader on exotic excursions through New York, Paris, London and the European countryside. She weaves a fascinating baby boomer novel with depth and complexity. A Hook in the Sky addresses issues people face upon retirement as the reader follows a man struggling to find purpose in life. After a slow start, the story shifts to Europe. The plot grows increasingly compelling with plenty of plot twists and turns. Characters are richly painted, detailed and multifaceted though not always likeable.In Europe, Robert rediscovers enthusiasm for art and life’s possibilities. With his marriage in shambles and his wife in New York, he begins an affair with Natasha and repeats many of the mistakes he made with his wife. Natasha, a photo-journalist, doesn’t respect his art either. Later he has an affair with her voluptuous but troubled daughter Nour. The affair ends as such things do unsatisfying for Nour and Robert.The story sweeps the reader along in a intriguing look at the contemporary art world. In the end, Robert comes to terms with his new life as readers expect from baby boomer novels. He achieves a certain amount of happiness by clinging to his long held values in the art world. The ending is less than satisfying, however, as Robert still lacks personal insight. Fulfillment and happiness is his coming of age in the last third of his life is still beyond his reach.Nevertheless, most readers will enjoy the journey as well as the exotic setting and powerful voice of the author. Boomers in particular will relate to Robert’s post retirement struggles and appreciate Claude Nougat’s foray into the new baby boomer genre.

  • Stephen Woodfin
    2019-03-15 07:22

    A Hook in the Sky is a quintessential baby boomer novel, a remarkable look at a man in transition from the world he knows to the one he has only imagined. It is a story of gratification delayed, realized and rejected, a commentary on the shades of green of the other man's grass.The protagonist, Robert, is just retiring from a career with the United Nations when first we meet him. What follows is his long-awaited life of freedom, a life in which he can pursue his art, an interest he has shelved for decades. From the minute he leaves his office for the last time, things go awry.Author Claude Nougat knows her subject. Herself retired from the United Nations after a twenty-five year career, she brings a unique perspective to her main character. A world citizen now living in Italy with her Sicilian husband, she displays an amazing breadth of experience, not only as a diplomat, but also as someone who knows the ins and outs of modern and classical art, the vibe of New York City, London and Paris, the countryside of Umbria.(As a kid growing up in East Texas, I thought Paris was a town just south of the Red River.)A Hook in the Sky is a complex, multi-layered treatment of many of the issues people confront as they age and reflect on what has been, what is, what might be. It bounces between worldly cynicism and humanitarian values, between greed and self-denial, between lust and love.When Robert and his estranged wife, the owner of an art gallery in New York, re-unite to work on a project, things take an unpredictable and deadly turn. Nougat uses the project, a combination of ladders that leads upward through a labyrinth toward a hook that floats in the heavens, as a symbol of the search for meaning, a contemporary Tower of Babel.Books like A Hook in the Sky demonstrate the coming of age of the baby boomer novel. Claude Nougat, a pioneer in the genre, has set a high standard for authors who hope to tread that path.

  • Kathleen
    2019-03-09 07:25

    Crimson Clouds is a poignant romance story about a mature man at a crossroads in his life, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, while his younger wife desperately wants to save their neglected marriage. It is a timeless story about finding the meaning of one's life, relationships, and second chances.Robert is a man retiring from his career at the UN. With retirement, Robert suddenly finds himself at a crossroads in his life when he discovers that his life is now lacking importance and cracks in his marriage become more apparent. He and his younger wife, Kay, were once in love, but for years they have been married more to their careers than to each other. After living separate lives for twenty years, they both want what they once had in their marriage, but every attempt to find common ground is met with many trials and tribulations, is it too late for them to salvage their marriage?Author Claude Nougat weaves a wonderful story written in the first person narrative that draws the reader into Robert and Kay's journey of self-discovery as they struggle to find themselves, their passions, and what is left of their dormant marriage.Crimson Clouds is an intriguing story that depicts the multi layers of a relationship, its joys and pitfalls, and discovering the many opportunities in life that are possible when given a second chance.Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions.http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot...

  • LeighAnn
    2019-02-28 07:15

    Robert is a newly retired man who worked for the United Nations. After he retires he's inspired to start painting again, something he hasn't done since he was a child. He dreams of being an artist but his much younger wife has a completely different taste in art. After retirement the couple starts to recognize all the differences between them and their marriage starts to dissolve.I want to start off by saying that this book is aimed towards older readers. It's a novel for Baby Boomers so i may be too young to truly appreciate this book the way an older reader would. With that being said, I still did enjoy this story. I really did not like Robert's wife Kay very much. I felt that she was very cold at times and that she was very self-centered. You can tell that the author was very knowledgeable about the United Nations and about art as well. I hope that at that age I don't have a marriage like Robert and Kay had. If you are a Baby Boomer I think that you would really enjoy this book and even more so if you are a fan of art.

  • Sally Berneathy
    2019-03-10 04:20

    When Robert retires from his job at the U.N., he seems to have everything—money, social position, a beautiful, talented, younger wife. But he must suddenly face the reality of his life, his disinterested and uninteresting wife, their failure to have children, his lack of purpose, his failure to accomplish anything important to him during all those years. Using the international art world as a background and symbolism for the characters, Claude Nougat takes the reader through Robert’s struggles to find himself, his passion and his truths. Though I’m not familiar with the art world, the author included enough description that I could see how it related to the story, how it formed and explained the characters and shaped Robert’s journey. I liked the ending, the way Robert seems to come to peace with his new world but doesn’t have a huge epiphany which makes everything wonderful and perfect. The ending is true to the rest of the book. Good job, Claude Nougat!

  • June McCullough
    2019-03-03 02:22

    A Hook in the Sky took a few chapters to hook me, but after that I resented any interruption that took me away from it. In this story, Robert is a man retiring from his long term employment with the UN. That is when the cracks in his life and marriage become more apparent. He and his wife, Kay, who were once in love, have been married more to their careers than each other. They both want what they once had and they each make small attempts to bring it back, but every attempt is given with an expectation of rejection. The author, Claude Naugot, has done a great job of describing the surroundings in a way that allows the reader to see and feel what it is that the characters are seeing and feeling. By the end of the book, you know and understand the characters. I won’t tell you anymore, because I don’t want to spoil the read for you, but I do have to say that by the time Robert moved to Italy, I saw him as a martyr - someone who will never be happy but it will never be his fault.

  • Lisa Deckert
    2019-03-18 05:23

    A Hook in the Sky is all about one man trying to fine his place in the world. Years ago, Robert used to feel satisfaction in his work, before he was promoted to a level of paper pushing and politics. When he can’t stand it anymore he retires, only to feel even more adrift. This is his struggle to find what comes next, and always to wonder, “Is it too late?”The characters were very real to me. I really didn’t like most of them very much, and yet I was drawn to Robert and wanted him to find his answers. I don’t want to give away too much, but the part of the book from which it draws its title is beautifully original and yet heartbreaking. The story is a study in the futility of chasing happiness through selfishness. I recommend this original and well-crafted novel.

  • RuthG
    2019-03-20 04:21

    This was first venture into "boomer" literature and I wanted to really like it. Unfortunately, I found Robert too weak to capture my sympathy. He lacks the ability for introspection and simply "goes with the flow" around him, resulting in unhappiness and sometimes failure. The women in the story are self-centered and even, at times, cruel. I kept hoping to see Robert take hold of himself and move forward but that was not to be. I don't know if he is representative of the vast number of retirees but certainly hope not.

  • D.B.
    2019-03-12 03:26

    I really liked this 'Baby Boomers' novel. The book contained surprises, twists and turns, and lots of comparison in art, cultures, and generations. It was a very good read.

  • Abigail Padgett
    2019-03-17 01:02

    A HOOK IN THE SKY is a hair-raising coming-of- (Baby Boomer) age story, but an exclusive focus on that dimension may obscure its delicious complexity. Anne Korkokeakivi, writing for THE MILLIONS, notes that French novels tend to be "... dark, searching, philosophical, autobiographical, self-reflective, and/or poetic (without being overwritten)." Author Nougat isn't French, but her protagonist is, and the novel's style fails none of these criteria. Indeed, it reads like the haunting, subtitled movie you discuss with friends for months!The principal narrator, Robert, casts light on a heretofore uncelebrated stage of life - the third. He is retiring from a career at the U.N. and painfully unsure of his next step. Kay, his American wife, is twenty years his junior and deeply involved in her work as the owner of a trendy New York art gallery. The couple is childless, a decision made years earlier by Kay without Robert's knowledge or consent, the revelation of which decision causes the couple to separate. Robert is abruptly alone, trying to recapture an abandoned version of himself - the (traditional) artist he wanted to be before choosing a more practical career. He may stay with that career as a consultant, but instead dives headlong into the unknown.His story is direct, seemingly honest and never "overwritten." He describes exotic Italian locales, his loathing for Modernist art and details of his affairs with an old friend and the friend's troubled daughter in a seductively boundaried style. The reader, while mesmerized by the written proximity of sunlit Italian villas, the inner workings of the U.N., heady discourses on art and the palpable disintegration of a marriage, is nonetheless aware that much remains mysterious, unsaid. Robert is a quiet man, and yet his story is borne forward with an impossible-to-put-down momentum. SOMETHING is about to happen, and it does.What happens is a fascinating shift, reminiscent of that in Muriel Barbery's THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG. Once a straightforward, uncompromising tale of one (admittedly privileged and cultured) man's transitional crisis, the novel suddenly blossoms into a sort of conceptual magic show. It's a wild ride into symbolic territory that may jar readers who were expecting either consistency or a sweet, comfortable ending. After bitter confrontations over Kay's passion for Modernist art, Robert uncharacteristically agrees to create a huge Modernist installation, a towering, dangerous, Escheresque maze of aluminum ladders rising to... a hook. Unreachable but omnipresent, the hook both looms above and incites the conflicting struggles of the lives below. Robert and Kay's conflict over art reflects both their personal discord and a larger philosophical perspective from which Kay emerges monstrous, a shallow, desperate pawn in the capitalist game. But neither does Robert emerge a hero. He chronicles, but does not alter, the horrific/fantastic concluding events (unreported here to avoid spoiling their effect on readers). Robert is Everyman, but an Everyman who can tell a story!Digital publishing is still a chaotic undertaking and the text has some missing commas and an odd use of “news” as a plural noun (“The news today are promising.”), but these typographical glitches are few and subsumed in the multilayered intelligence of the book. Ideal for book groups, A HOOK IN THE SKY poses questions for which there may be no answers, but about which endless discussion will be compelling.

  • Jaideep Khanduja
    2019-02-28 04:58

    http://pebbleinthestillwaters.blogspo...Book Review: Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat: A Romance Fiction About Adulthood and Second AdulthoodCrimson Clouds by Claude Nougat is a fiction novel in Romance genre. Claude was born in Brussels and had her upbringing in Europe, Africa and America. She graduated in Economics from Columbia University. She has been versatile enough to put her hands on various professions – banking, publishing, journalism, marketing, teaching in a college and gradually landed in the Food and Agriculture Organizations, the United Nations in Rome as a project inspector. During her tenure of 20 years of successful career here she reached to a position of Director – Regional Representative – for Europe and Central Asia before retiring in 2003. She has many award winning books to her credit. She is one of the masters in Boomer literature aiming at Baby Boomers.Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat is a romantic story but with a different level of gravity where one gets to understand the intricacies of matured passion and defies that could happen in the life after retirement which is also referred to as the second adulthood. There are five main characters in the book around whom the whole story of Crimson Clouds revolves. Robert is a 60 years old man, tall and quite attractive broadminded Frenchman who has spent almost his whole career in the United Nations climbing the career ladder to gradually reach to one of the highest levels. Robert is a man of great values and strong beliefs and differentiates well with a precision between Contemporary Art that he hates and the good art that he admires.Robert’s mother is a short, old lady but quite agile at her old age spending a good amount of time on her passion of painting even during her 90s. Robert’s father was a Consul of France in New York and she had no problem in balancing her life of being wife of a highly positioned diplomat and as a passionate painter. Natasha is the third main character of this story who has been with Robert since their childhood and both have maintained a good friendship. She is a journalist and an art photographer and is younger to Robert by around 5 years. She is the child of a French mother and a Russian father. Lastly we have two more important characters – Kay, younger to Robert by almost 20 years and is his wife. She, unlike Robert, loves Contemporary Art and has no interest in the values and beliefs maintained by Robert.Finally we have Nour who is 27 and Natasha’s daughter. Nour is intensely attractive but internally disturbed because of the circumstances she had to face during her youth when she lost her Iranian father in Paris and Natasha took over the complete responsibility of bringing her up. Nour has a drifting personality that gradually makes her an aimless entity in life.Overall, Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat is quite intense, attention grabbing romance novel that will keep you hooked to it throughout because of strong characterization, excellent story and well woven plot.

  • Jo
    2019-02-21 03:57

    'A Hook in the Sky' is certainly a book for the ages, particularly retirement age such as my own! I don't remember having read anything like this riveting story in which I could see so many of my own issues.The writing is simple...great clarity...yet the individuals are dynamic and detailed! In a sense, Ms Nougat reminds me very much of Honoré Balzac, though certainly not that flowery, in her creation of characters who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. She demonstrates a keen observation of detail and an unfiltered and honest representation of society, a naturalist who sees through clear glass instead of a romantic colored lens, which is a quality Balzac always attempted to achieve.I am enchanted by this author's storytelling skills. I get the sense that in her lifetime she has devoured books of every kind, feeding voraciously on history and literature, philosophy and religious work, etc. Hers is the calm, mature voice of the all-knowing, all-seeing world traveler.In this book she addresses issues we all face as we move from the realm of reliable employment into the very daunting fog of "what do I do now?". How familiar this is to me! I always wanted to write full time, yet when faced with the possibility, a vast array of roadblocks popped up! In the matter of my marriage, it was sheer terror. I married him for better or worse...not for lunch! The author skillfully weaves the tale around these issues with masterful authority.There is no dearth of twists and turns in this book; toward the end these are completely unexpected. You find yourself holding your breath, quite literally!Claude Nougat is very much a prolific writer, and I've come to depend on her blog for educated, authentic news and opinion on world events. I'm sure you will find that if you take the time to read her, you will regard her writing as some of the best in the world today. She certainly has the chops!I heartily recommend 'A Hook in the Sky', a most compelling, artfully told story that you will remember for a long, long time!--Jo VonBargen 2013

  • Vidya-BooksAreMagic
    2019-03-08 02:25

    Can a person become so pathetic, when he is retired? I hated the protagonist - Robert. Yes, I liked the author's "Forget the Past" trilogy. But, this book, although written well, disappointed me. Let me do some assessment here: (view spoiler)[Who is Robert?Robert is an intelligent man and the protagonist of this novel.Robert worked for UN for more than 25 years and he is retiring now.Robert loves to paint and as he is retiring, he is going to explore that interest of his.Personal problems for Robert?No children - his wife doesn't want one, though Robert does.He didn't spend time with his wife, and vice-versa.My problem with Robert..I admit what happened to Robert with his wife is deplorable. But, that still doesn't justify his need to lie with every woman in his life, after retirement.This guy is just pathetic.My rating?Hmm, let's see.Writing - good.Characters - Well-formed (Still hate Robert, but the truth is the characters are well-formed. I actually liked many other characters although they are only minor characters. The other characters felt more original.)Enjoyment - No!Editing - Minor issues, but doesn't hinder reading.Pace - SlowClimax - Acceptable, although not satisfying! Final thoughts:Am I too young to enjoy this novel? Maybe. But at 24, I think I can understand, although not enjoy these type of novels. Am I too old-fashioned to accept Robert's character? Maybe. Still, I am not going to backup any of his ways. What made the climax not satisfying? That guy, who didn't even try to confront his own problems, doesn't regret his activities till the end. (hide spoiler)]Sorry, this book is certainly not for me! Recommended? Not for younger audience.I rate books only based on the excitement/enjoyment/satisfaction, I feel at the end of it. And this is the rating I give for this novel - 2.5 STARS!

  • Elizabeth Good
    2019-03-20 08:05

    This book was easy to read; the fluidity of dialogue was enjoyable. And the author's knowledge of the Art world and workings of the U.N. is evident.I, unlike some reviewers, liked Robert, the main protagonist, a lot more than Kay, his wife. He was my favorite character in this book of few characters, and I sympathized with his POV more than Kay's, who I found to be a bit annoying. I was surprised, and a tad disappointed, that they did indeed reconcile their long-term marriage after a long period of separation. (spoiler alert)Maybe I don't believe in the idea of happily-ever-after in troubled baby boomer marriages unless they remain together strictly for financial reasons, which wasn't the case here. And these two people seemed to be as impossibly worlds apart in their belief systems as a couple could be, especially when it came to children. P.S. Robert is twenty years older than Kay and always wanted children. Kay saw to it that never happened. Enough to end it right there, in my opinion.And their reconciliation period was peppered with more than just one heated argument after another. I did not connect the dots of their reconciliation. It seemed contrived, or maybe I should say I did not "feel the love" they purportedly had for each other, although it is written to be so.Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book of second chances, as indicated by the length of time it took to read, start to finish was under 24 hours.

  • Librarian Judith
    2019-03-07 06:26

    This book is not your everyday romance book--instead it's a story of second chances, of mature love and failings, and carries with it the theme--and fear-- of "too late." It reads more like "women's fiction" than romance.Is it "too late" for Robert to follow his childhood dream of painting? Is it "too late" for Robert and Kay to have a life together? Is it "too late" for them to find some common ground in a marriage that for twenty years have been living all but separate lives? Is the love they still share not only "too late" but enough to salvage this relationship?Ms. Nougat does a wonderful job at reeling the reader in and making her care what happens to these two characters, even while said reader wants to just shake them both at times and tell them to "stop it right now." They each want to regain what they had in the early days of marriage but each are equally sure that their needs are the most important ones. The author takes these two through an unconventional (especially in the terms of romance writing) journey as they seek to regain what they have lost. It's told through alternating points of view so we get some of the story from each of them, which is interesting to see. I am definitely interested in reading more of this author's work---I like the way she writes.

  • Anthony Stancomb
    2019-03-14 03:26

    A very well written book, it charts the lives of two people who in many ways encapsulate our present day privileged middle-class world. In a prime ‘aby Boomer Lit’ book, we follow the lives of a couple who have to deal with life once the husband retires. A very good portrait is painted of two extremely selfish people who because their jobs were so busy, have managed to spend a life together without having the first idea of what it means to have a proper relationship – and through the occasional flashbacks, we see the seeds of their dysfunction. The book is the story of what happens after the husband’s retirement, and their inability to live together without their careers to occupy them and support their roles.This is very much a story of our time, and it is told in alternating chapters through the eyes of both the husband and the wife – which gives a good insight into both the protagonists. Often perceptive, the writing enables one to feel involved with both of the characters, and keeps the reader wanting to know how the story unfolds. There’s also a pretty good take on the smoke screens and mirrors that go to make up the art world. Just a pity that the ending happens as it does. In my opinion, neither of them deserved it.

  • Stephen Satterwhite
    2019-03-17 01:04

    I just finished reading "A Hook In The Sky by Claude Nougat. This was much more than reading a book for me. It was like riding in a boat on an ocean that I had never been on before, with torrential rains, enormous waves, tranquil sunsets and complete and utter solitude. I was transfixed by a physical world I knew nothing about, the art world, Italy and the United Nations. At the same time I was riding on an emotional roller coaster in a world that I knew with all of my heart, the joy and the difficulty of love, the differences between us in our relationships. In my own book, "True Stories from a Baby Boomer" I describe how my wife and I divorced, then remarried. Although where we live and what we do separate us, what brings us together is our universal desire to be understood and to be loved. Claude "hooked me" from the first page to the last, a captivating baby boomer journey and a fantastic ride!

  • Claude Forthomme
    2019-03-14 09:02

    Since I'm the author, I've rated it 5 stars, LOL! Please note that I have completely revised the original novel called "A Hook in the Sky" - it was well received when it came out in September 2012,gathering 29 reviews on Amazon and was even considered by some as "quintessential boomer lit". Still I wasn't satisfied, I felt in particular that the point of view of the wife was insufficiently covered. I opted for a total rewrite, using first person POVs, one for the husband, the other for the wife, thus shaping the book as a duet between the two. Now I believe the book tells the story in its entirety and fully reflects the anxiety and subdued charm of romance the second time around.

  • Joseph Badal
    2019-03-02 02:17

    This is a very poignant story about a man who is trying to find himself late in life. Unfortunately, he brings people with negative energy into his circle of friends, family, and lovers. It also offers commentary on the definition of "real" art, providing insight into the silliness of many art forms. I very much enjoyed the read.

  • Marsha Roberts
    2019-03-07 01:59

    Too busy to give a review the time it needs right now, but Ms. Nougat did a lovely job on a difficult subject matter and poignant story line. More to come...