There's a rather large gang following me. I was born during World War II. The Post-War Baby Boomers have been chasing me ever since.
A friend of mine, Claude Nougat had the bright idea of writing books just for them. Interestingly, the young adult genre pretty much came into existence while they were adolescents. Why shouldn't more mature books begin as they come of “that” age. (You don't know what “that” age is? Maybe I'll address it in another blog posting.)
Claude wrote a novel about a baby boomer struggling with retirement. What? You thought that retirement was going to be easy. Have you looked at your IRA lately? Actually, that's the least of your problems.
Remember growing up? Making career decisions? If you think that was hard, wait until you have to decide what you're going to do with your life once you retire. You don't have the energy you had when you were beginning a career. You don't adapt to change as easily. Some of us are lucky. We have a talent that we've been waiting to pursue.
Remember the old adage: “To a businessman, time is money”? Well, there's a corollary: “To an artist, money is time”. Money is what allows every artists to pursue their muse. Now, unless you have a commission from the Pope or some ducal prince, you're going to need a retirement income to be an artist. (Sorry, garrets in Paris aren't as cheap as they once were. Watch an episode or two of House Hunters International and you'll see what I mean.)
If you're lucky enough to have a retirement income that provides a living, you too can be an artist, like Claude and I.
Claude exposes the life in her book, A Hook in the Sky. Fundamentally, it is the story of a man coping with retirement. He casts about for a new direction, a new purpose in his life as he retires from a demanding career working at the United Nations. He discovers that his home and marriage, long neglected as he traveled the world on special assignments, have fallen into disarray. Surprisingly, the author, a woman, demonstrates a better grasp of male characters and their motivations that I expected. I only wish that I handled female characters as well in my own stories.
The author understands the milieu: art and artists in present day Europe. In fact, if you are an artist or an art lover, you probably will be thrilled with this story. You might even learn something as you read it. If you are neither, don't worry. Most of us can appreciate specialized genres of books without understanding the specialized knowledge that the author brings to them.
The characters in A Hook in the Sky are three-dimensional. The principal protagonist is likable despite his human frailties and fumbling. Stick with him to the end. You'll be rewarded for the effort.
Ultimately, this is a very mature novel. There is nothing frivolous about it which is why it needs the right audience. Rest assured, if you enjoy the sample, you will not be disappointed in reading all of it.