Have you ever wondered what life would be like when you retire? A permanent holiday, a chance to do everything you haven’t had time to do, books to read, places to see…But what if it turned into a nightmare and you didn’t know what to do to push away the awful feeling that Time is running out on you!
It happened to me a few years ago when I left my United Nations job after 25 years of hard work. I went through all the usual trials and tribulations of a retiree: after traveling around and feeling increasingly useless, I decided to revive my childhood dream of being an artist – my mother is a figurative painter and had taught me when I was young. Painting, in short, was not a new activity: I’d painted all my life whenever I was free from work. I started with gusto and cheerily told my friends that from a Sunday painter I’d turned into a weekday one, painting like mad every day. I had calculated that I could produce over 2500 canvases before dying…then things started to go dreadfully wrong. My daughter, who’s a contemporary art expert and works for a big gallery in London, just sneered at my painting – or rather, said nothing whenever she walked into my studio. Silence can be unbearable. Naturally I got no help from her and had to scramble to join collective shows and the like…until I realized I was wasting my time, I was square while everyone around me was cool.
Time to stop and survey the situation. That’s when this book (my second novel) was born. A HOOK IN THE SKY is not only a “baby boomer novel” (written by a baby boomer with a boomer as a protagonist) but it is based directly on my own experience, including at work in the United Nations and my subsequent (bumbling) attempts at becoming an artist. Where the book differs from me is that my protagonist’s marriage unravels (mine hasn’t after 35 years, thank God!) and of course I’m a woman and he’s a man. Much of the rest, however, is real and based directly on what’s happening in the contemporary art world today and what it means to grow old and have a successful second life.
So what’s the story, you may well ask. Well, it’s a book that brings together the painting of a naked woman, a hook and ladders! Yes, it really does. Here’s how: when Robert, a dashing Frenchman retires, he decides to start a second life as an artist. His much younger, artsy American wife is appalled by his old-fashioned figural paintings. They fight over art but what is at stake is their relationship. Until then, neither had been aware of the differences. The marriage quickly unravels, but that’s only the beginning of Robert’s problems… After a period of separation marked by sexual adventures and disenchantment, Robert attempts to remodel himself as a contemporary artist to win back his wife. He dreams up a weird installation called a “Hook in the Sky” – a pile of ladders reaching up to a hook, a symbol of transcendence. She loves it, she promotes it, hoping that it will change their lives but instead it wreaks havoc around them…
About the Author: Claude Nougat is the author of several books, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also a published author in several languages, including Italian. She maintains a blog (at http://claudenougat.blogspot.com) and is a figurative painter, often designing her own book covers.
Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Hook-Sky-ebook/dp/B0098MFGNM
Presently at a special low launch price of $2.99 (until end September – hurry to take advantage)
For more information about the book: http://claudenougat.blogspot.it/p/a-hook-in-sky.html
with pictures of Robert’s paintings (actually the author’s!) including a beautiful naked woman – this is young, mixed-up Nour who will play an important if unexpected role in Robert’s life.
Some photos of the Umbria Robert loves and that he runs back to whenever his problems overwhelm him (which is quite often): https://picasaweb.google.com/103329767729579924206/AHOOKINTHESKYRobertSUmbria?authuser=0&feat=directlink
And some photos of Robert’s paintings that his wife despises: https://picasaweb.google.com/103329767729579924206/AHOOKINTHESKYRobertSPaintingsThoseHisWifeDespises?authuser=0&feat=directlink