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Gold: A Novel by Chris Cleave
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Gold: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Chris Cleave

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7266820,466 (3.75)29
Cyclists Zoe and Kate are friends and athletic rivals for Olympic gold, while Kate and her husband Jack, also a world-class cyclist, must contend with the recurrence of their young daughter's leukemia.
Member:JennyArch
Title:Gold: A Novel
Authors:Chris Cleave
Info:Simon & Schuster (2013), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:literary fiction, British/UK

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Gold by Chris Cleave (2012)

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» See also 29 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
A good book but not a patch on The Other Hand ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
I'm all for authors trying something different rather than just ploughing the same furrow - so all credit for Chris Cleave for doing that here. And I did try to put aside expectations based on my enthusiasm for Chris Cleave's previous 2 novels, Incendiary and The Other Hand (Little Bee in the US). I also think Chris Cleave is an excellent writer who is capable of producing exceptional material - but I'm afraid Gold just didn't work for me.

Zoe and Kate are 2 rival cyclists in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. They are also (sort of) best friends - and their difficult relationship forms the backbone of the plot. But the contrast between them extends to so many areas and is so sharply drawn that it felt contrived, as if the author was writing with one eye on a film/TV adaptation, where scriptwriters tend to adopt a slightly more black and white approach. On the screen, you can get away with it because the audience doesn't have so much time to think about what they're watching (especially if you make the action fairly fast-moving). But when you're reading a novel you normally have more time to ponder - and it just felt a bit too artfully constructed to me. It may also be that in the first 2 novels, we have first person narrators who have very distinctive and convincing voices - whereas in Gold, it's all in the third person, which may mean that you are more aware of the guiding presence of the author.

The other problem I had with it was that in both Incendiary and The Other Hand, there was a lot at stake - whereas for me, winning an Olympic medal doesn't have quite the same weight. That's not to belittle the achievements of athletes who've won Olympic medals - it undoubtedly requires exceptional dedication and skill and the world would be a very much poorer place without them. But ultimately, it isn't a "life and death" issue like terrorism (Incendiary) or asylum seekers (The Other Hand). In this case, I felt that there was an attempt to introduce a "life and death" issue in the form of Kate's daughter, Sophie, who has leukaemia, but it felt like it was grafted on to give the plot added gravitas and/or to make the book appeal to people who aren't that interested in sport.

I can see why (after Incendiary and The Other Hand) the author wanted to explore slightly more "feel-good" territory - and he does an efficient job of it, but if you really liked his previous 2 novels, this may not quite live up to expectations.
( )
  Paul_Samael | Nov 9, 2019 |
The cyclists were well done, but the situation was so unbelievable and one of the characters so unlikable, I didn't enjoy it. I gave it 3 stars as it was fairly well written, but 2 stars for the experience. ( )
  Jandrew74 | May 26, 2019 |
A great fictional narrative about sporting heroes and what goes into the making of one.

For a complete review, please click on the link below:

http://onerightword.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/gold-chris-cleave.html ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |


I really like Chris Cleave's writing style. I didn't expect to like Gold as much as I liked Little Bee but in fact I loved it, more so than Little Bee. Now I need to go read Incendiary. ( )
  JamieBH | Apr 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Go for Gold if you want to enter into some Olympic spirit via the ups and downs of a tight-knit group of characters. However, if you find yourself unmoved by the kind of technical details contained in, "he prodded questioningly at the minimalist opening mechanism of the apartment’s high-gloss olive-lacquered sliding front door", then this may not be your idea of a winner.
 
This might have been the “North Dallas Forty” or “Ball Four” of an obscure Olympic sport — sharp, revelatory, funny. ­Instead it’s “Beaches” on bikes.
added by geocroc | editNew York Times, Bruce Barcott (Jul 13, 2012)
 
Gold is in every sense a taut novel about three intimate, sharply drawn characters – lovers, rivals – training for cycling gold medals at the 2012 Olympics.
 
Like most novels about sport, Chris Cleave's Gold isn't really about sport. Sport as an activity, of course, is unbeatably thrilling if you're a participant or a fan. The problem is, if you're neither of those things, it can be the most astonishing bore.
added by geocroc | editThe Guardian, Patrick Ness (Jun 8, 2012)
 
Gold is indeed a sentimental novel but it has that rare gift of getting past the urban sneer to move and gratify, to stir us because it does, indeed, matter.
added by geocroc | editThe Observer, Alex Preston (Jun 3, 2012)
 
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