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Crimson Clouds

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  27 reviews
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 i ...more
Kindle Edition, 2, 222 pages
Published January 19th 2014 (first published September 10th 2012)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 wan
Bob Rector
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 u ...more
Lee Holz
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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, ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 re ...more
Roderick Low
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Alana Woods
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 thin
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Michael Murphy
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 bo
Stephen Woodfin
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 f
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 cra
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 b
Sally Berneathy
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 t
June McCullough
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 exp ...more
Lisa Deckert
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Baby boomer discussion
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 an
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: boomer
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 ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Abigail Padgett
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 mo ...more
Jaideep Khanduja
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it

Book Review: Crimson Clouds by Claude Nougat: A Romance Fiction About Adulthood and Second Adulthood

Crimson 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 land
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'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 obser
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013-reads
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)
Elizabeth Good
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Librarian Judith
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, romance
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
Anthony Stancomb
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Stephen Satterwhite
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 dif ...more
Claude Forthomme
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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, ...more
Joseph Badal
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Marsha Roberts
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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...
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Nougat is a pen name. Real name: Claude Forthomme. Senior Editor Impakter Magazine, since 2014, covering social issues across the world and book reviews (only books I like!) All my articles on the magazine listed here:

Born in Belgium, raised on three continents and tri-lingual, a Columbia University graduate (economics), I tried a variety of jobs from bankin

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