Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Review: Gold by Chris Cleave

Tenths of a second have separated Zoe and Kate for years as they began to battle at age nineteen for cycling supremacy. Now at age 32, they aim for the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose. (book jacket blurb)

Gold by Chris Cleave is well written fiction that delves into the psychology of sport, the intensity of training, and the difficulty in coping with real life. Kate is married to an Olympic level cyclist, Jack, and together they have a daughter Sophie who is battling leukemia. As parents they are torn as they juggle her care and their workouts.

Meanwhile, Zoe is compulsive in her need to win, and at various points in her career has jeopardized her only friendship with Kate. Obsession never looked so ugly.

p. 224 You got up to the speed where the bike started humming beneath you, where the vibration through the handlebars and the saddle drew you into a trance of concentration. You noticed everything. ...Time had the quality of indecisiveness. Everything was unusually quick and unusually slow.

I enjoyed Gold and the characters are well drawn. You cheer and jeer at them along the way. As a non-athlete myself, I found Gold riveting in regards to this level of sport - what it takes to get there and stay at Olympic level. Saddle up and start pedaling. Once you start reading, you won't want to stop.


  1. I read his last book The Other Hand, but felt a bit cheated. It was a good story, but the blurb seemed to infer it was beyond any story I could imagine - and it wasn't. I've seen Gold in the book shop, but I'm not sure I want to be disappointed again.

  2. I bet competing at that level is really intense. Sounds like a good read!

  3. Good review, which makes me consider buying the book.