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Crimson Clouds Paperback – January 20, 2014
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About the Author
Claude Nougat is a writer, economist, painter and poet. A graduate of Columbia University, Claude has dabbled in a wide variety of jobs before starting a 25 year career at the United Nations (Food and Agriculture), ending as Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. Claude is the author of many books, including two in Italian that won several awards in Italy, and seven in English, all fiction except one essay on development aid; she is considered a prime exponent of Boomer literature. Her poetry has been included in "Freeze Frame", an international poetry anthology curated by British poet Oscar Sparrow, published by Gallo Romano Media in 2012. Claude is married and lives in Italy.
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Top customer reviews
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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 :p
I 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.
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.
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