Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 12 March 2012

Gold - Chris Cleave



Zoe, Kate and Jack all emerge as talented young sprint cyclists, and go on to train and challenge at the highest level, with that ultimate aim, Olympic Gold. This story follows them as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympics, and throughout the novel we are taken back at intervals to learn what happened when they were young, to discover how they all first met, and what has happened at other key turning points in their lives, including Athens and Beijing, to bring them to where they are, and make them the people they are now. 


I was very moved by this story and by the people involved; the author conveys the private pain that can become a driving force for winning and success, but can equally be a destructive element in life. Zoe and Kate are both huge rivals and best friends. There is a fierce determination in the hearts of these competitors, but there is also recognition that there are things in life so much more precious, above and beyond any competition. It’s a tense read at times, some heart-stopping moments both in and out of the velodrome. This is a poignant story, encompassing lives lived both at the peak of fitness and in seriously ill health, and it is beautifully written, full of humanity with all of its deep love and immense pain; I shed a few tears at the end, and felt I missed the characters; they, and the story, have stayed very much in my mind since finishing the book.

Reading groups would find much here to discuss, from the demands that professional athletes place their bodies under, the rigorous training, the media scrutiny they face, and the real lives they live away from the spotlight, as well as discussing thoughts on the London 2012 Olympics themselves as they fast approach. 

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Thank you very much to NewBooks magazine for sending me a proof copy of this novel to read and give an honest review.

Published by Sceptre on 7th June 2012.

You can follow the author on twitter @chriscleave and visit his website here.

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4 comments:

  1. Certainly very topical but I do not think this would appeal to me, interesting to read the review though.

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    1. Definitely topical! Thanks LindyLou.

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  2. Interesting. I know a book club that would really enjoy this one.

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    1. It would be a good one to discuss from lots of angles Dana.

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