09 August 2012

Review: Gold by Chris Cleave

What does it take to be an Olympic champion? Is the only possible route Zoe Castle's? From a young age, she had but a single drive: ride her bike faster than every one else lined up at the start. And if that didn't work, she could always use psychological warfare, even against her supposed best friend. Kate Meadows was no less motivated, but her empathetic nature and desire to connect with others meant she sometimes chose real life over racing.

Both in the velodrome and out in the world, Kate and Zoe are joined by complicated knots: Their shared dream for a gold metal; their shared coach; and even (at least once) their shared man, which means they are likely going to be tied for life. Now just months before their last Olympics, will their mutual history cut the binds or tighten them?

Chris Cleave's Gold touches on much more than the sport of bike sprinting. For example, Kate and Zoe's journey to the London Games will make you think about the nature of friendship, parenthood, competition, self-identity, and self-fulfillment. You might not like either athlete, but as you become familiar with their grueling training routine, get a hint of the exhilaration of speed, and sit with them in their darkest moments, you will care about their fate at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

I listened to the unabridged audio edition (Simon & Schuster Audio; 11 hr, 55 min) read by Emilia Fox, whose pacing and expression added to my enjoyment of this novel. My complete review of her performance will be available at the AudioFile magazine website.

Buy Gold at an Indie, Powell's, Book Depository, or a bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs.
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2012
ISBN-13: 9781451672725
Rating: B
Source: bought (see review policy)
t © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Daryl 8/9/12, 7:45 AM  

sounds interesting .. thanks!

Helen's Book Blog 8/9/12, 7:58 AM  

I have this on my iPad and thought I would read it when I was in London for the Olympics, but didn't get to it. Now I'll bump it up so it gets read sooner as the Olympics are still on my mind.

Beatnik Mary 8/9/12, 9:27 AM  

I loved this book! I wasn't so sure if I liked his previous book, Little Bee, but this one was a real winner for me (oh, groan, pardon the pun).
I hope you don't mind me doing this, but I'm hosting a giveaway for this book in August 2012 on my blog, www.CozyLittleBookJournal.com. Maybe your readers would be interested?

Anonymous,  8/9/12, 9:38 AM  

I found Gold so fascinating - so many layers of connection between these two women. (I also loved their coach, Tom. So crusty and honest.)

Zibilee 8/9/12, 10:37 AM  

I have had this book on my shelves for some time now, and with the Olympics going on, it seems like now would be the perfect time time to get this one read. I do think it's very intriguing that both women share a lot of the same people and issues in their lives. Great review today!

Linda 8/9/12, 11:31 AM  

I do want to read this one at some point. Great review.

Sandy Nawrot 8/9/12, 12:13 PM  

I am so fascinated with the Olympic athlete...their sacrifices, their training schedule, their motivation. It almost blows my mind really. But I also know there must be an underbelly, and I'm afraid that would spoil my fantasy! My daughter has been watching some awful show on TV about teenage gymnasts, and I can't even bear to be around when she is watching it. All that said, I'd be willing to listen to this one. I'm going to see what my library has.

Meg @ write meg! 8/9/12, 12:45 PM  

I was really intrigued by this one and longed to finish it before the Olympics, but -- well . . . that didn't happen, sadly! I read about 60 pages before getting a little bored. I don't know; it was probably just my mood. Will plan to return to it soon.

bermudaonion 8/9/12, 2:17 PM  

I had hoped to read this one during the Olympics but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Julie P. 8/9/12, 2:47 PM  

Sounds like a good book club pick!

Carole 8/9/12, 6:45 PM  

this sounds really good. Would you like to link it in to Books You Loved: August Edition?


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 8/9/12, 8:47 PM  

Loved the timeliness of this one and thought it was really good as well -- nice review - glad u enjoyed it.

grammajudyb 8/9/12, 11:29 PM  

I have "GOLD" on my TBR list. I think I will move it closer to the top. Thanks for the review.

Serena 8/10/12, 7:15 AM  

I like seeing these sports books at the time of the Olympics. I just read Flight From Berlin, which is set during the controversial 1936 Olympics in Berlin with Jesse Owens, etc. It's good to see these books getting attention.

Jenners 8/17/12, 5:04 PM  

I love how prescient the author must have been to have this ready for release at the time of the Olympics. I wonder if it will get a boost in sales during every summer games?

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