Usually, this is where we'd tell you what this book is about. But with Chris Cleave, it's a bit different. Because if you've read The Other Hand or Incendiary, you'll know that what his books are about is only part of the story - what really matters is how they make you feel. Gold is about the limits of human endurance, both physical and emotional. It will make you cry. Gold is about what drives us to succeed - and what we choose to sacrifice for success. It will make you feel glad to be alive. Gold is about the struggles we all face every day; the conflict between winning on others' terms, and triumphing on your own. It will make you count your blessings. Gold is a story told as only Chris Cleave could tell it. And once you begin, it will be a heart-pounding race to the finish.
©2012 Chris Cleave (P)2012 Hodder & Stoughton
from Literary Exploration
Zoe and Kate are world-class athletes; they have been rivals on the track from the very start but they are also friends. Gold follows the story of these two cyclists’ lives leading up the 2012 London Olympics. Both women will be tested on and off the track, being pushed to their physical and emotional limits. The book follows the two through most of their professional career, starting at 19 all the way up to training for their final Olympic event.
This is a strong character driven book, Kate is the nice one, she is a mother first and an athlete second who is always Zoe’s heels. Zoe on the other hand is driven purely by the need to win and will stop at nothing to gain the advantage. Even the support characters are wonderful; from the bitter coach Tom, to Kate’s husband Jack who also is an Olympic cyclist and can be very cocky about his constant lack of competition. Not forgetting Jake and Kate’s daughter Sophie, who while suffering from leukaemia is constantly trying to remain strong to stop her parents worrying about her so much.
Chris Cleave writes a wonderful book, this is a story full of passion, humour and tragedy. I was excited to read this book, I’ve been eyeing it for a few weeks and when my local book club decided to read it, I finally had an excuse. I really love exploring the characters; Zoe was a real stand out for me, her flaws made her a character I wanted to read more about. To offset the dense nature of this book, Cleave did a wonderful job at lightening the mood, from Sophie’s obsession with Star Wars to the humour with lines like; “The boys sat around and talked about Keats and fine bone China, or whatever they talk about before they are about to spend 8 hours racing each other”.
Gold is a deep bittersweet story that is full of empathy, sharp observations and strong characters. Chris Cleave did a great job of balancing the novel out so it never felt heavy or too light. I think I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book; it was such a joy to read. I’ve even heard that Chris Cleave’s other books are worth checking out and if Gold is anything to go by, then I’m excited to read more.
The storyline was far-fetched and the medical and legal aspects poorly researched making it difficult to suspend disbelief and engage with the story. I don't know anything about Olympic cycling so I can't comment about that, but I suspect that it is equally off the mark there. The characters are shallow caricatures.
Although the narrator did a satisfactory job, her Australian accent was poor. Overall a disappointing read.
Like in all of Chris Cleave's novels, you've got to love the characters. Even the characters that seem tough and unkind (and that's what you would probabaly think if you met them in real life) are shown in a way that makes you love them.
The scene in which Zoë, Jack and Kate meet for the first time. It shows you very well what kind of persons they are.
No I haven't, but I liked the way she narrated the story very much.
I loved Zoë best. The way she is struggling and fighting against (the consequences of) her past is impressive. Sophie is disarming in everything she says, thinks and does. Jack and Kate can be a bit too perfect here and there, but believable nevertheless. Tom is a strong character as well, especially in the way he (tries to) understand and help Zoë. All in all, I loved all of the characters; they really make this story what it is.
If you are a Chris Cleave fan (or want to become one), this is certainly a novel you should listen to (just like his other novels). Wonderful!
Sadly, whilst I am a huge Chris Cleave fan, I probably wouldn't listen to this book again. I'd rather reread "Incendiary" (one of my favourite books of all time) or "The Other Hand" because those stories are much more complex and interesting that "Gold".
I've read them both and loved them!!
Emilia Fox is undoubtedly the star of this audio book. There are some fascinating and well written passages, interjected with cute humour, but overall is it Emilia Fox who makes this book worth listening to. She is one of the best narrators out there, and she nailed various accents and voices without ever sounding silly. Had I not been listening to her, I wouldn't have enjoyed the book half as much.
Perhaps Kate's Dad? All the protagonists were quite unlikeable (Zoe, Jack, coach), precocious (the daughter, already forgotten her name) or too bland / perfect (Kate), so actually if anyone, it would be one of the peripheral characters.
I was intrigued by the refusal of the "blurb" to tell me what the book was about. I am so glad I didn't know as it would have been one of the last books I would have chosen. I'm really loathe to say "what it was about" in case it has the same effect. The first few minutes were about people who will be taking part in an event in London 2012. (My heart sank!) The next were set on the Death Star from Star Wars. (Confused? I was.)
Neither of these passages were what the book was about.
I am so glad I didn't delete the book before I read any further - it was beautiful, touching, sad and heart-warming.
I think I'll listen to again soon. Perhaps in July as I won't be watching the televison.
What a book..... Been a while since i have come across a book this beautifully written.
While Chris painted a beautiful picture with his words, Emilia filled emotions through her voice. You can sense various emotions being triggered during the whole journey. You can see things like it were happening under your nose. This is a great feeling.
I don't see why someone hasn't made a film out of it yet.... ;-)
"Superb narration, superb writing"
Chris Cleave is a beautiful storyteller. He weaves wonderful relationships out of the most difficult scenarios. Thought-provoking and touching, his stories showcase the very best and worst of people at the same time. They make you despair for humanity at the same time as giving you hope for our race. We are capable of such terrible things, such selfishness. Yet at the same time, we’re capable of such sacrifice and love.
Gold is wonderfully written, with moments of humour and sadness throughout. I gasped reading one scene, which (as it involved vomit) should have been incredibly disgusting. Instead it was so moving I nearly cried. Having read The Other Hand, I couldn’t imagine Chris Cleave topping that masterpiece. It would be a lie to say that Gold does but it’s a very different book, with a very different story and it certainly holds its own. Absolutely stunning read/listen.
"What does it take to be a top athlete?"
This book gives you and Incite to the sacrifices that 3 athletes make on the root to the Olympics. This book is a tale of going for gold with a tale of love, personal sacrifice and inner struggles. At first I didn't quite warm to it but after a few hours it got me. A good listen or read.
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