Gold by Chris Cleave
A Novel

79%

37 Critic Reviews

...Cleave knows how to captivate with rich characters and nimble plotting.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Building on the tradition of Little Bee, Chris Cleave again writes with elegance, humor, and passion about friendship, marriage, parenthood, tragedy, and redemption.

What would you sacrifice for the people you love?

KATE AND ZOE met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling—a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair.

Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.

Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her eight-year-old daughter Sophie dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy—she is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Sophie doesn’t want to stand in the way of her mum’s Olympic dreams, but each day the dark forces of the universe seem to be massing against her.

Devoted and self-sacrificing Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenzied months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis?

Intense, aloof Zoe has always hovered on the periphery of real human companionship, and her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate—and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession, and the advantage she has over a harried, anguished mother, to sever the bond they have shared for more than a decade?

Echoing the adrenaline-fueled rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling. With great humanity and glorious prose, Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships, and the choices we make when lives are at stake and everything is on the line.
 

About Chris Cleave

See more books from this Author
Chris Cleave is the author of Incendiary and the #1 New York Times bestseller Little Bee. He lives with his wife and three children in Kingston-upon-Thames, England. Visit him at ChrisCleave.com or on Twitter @ChrisCleave.
 
Published July 3, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Sports & Outdoors. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Gold
All: 37 | Positive: 29 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 05 2012

...Cleave knows how to captivate with rich characters and nimble plotting.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Bruce Barcott on Jul 13 2012

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.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Jul 08 2012

The case “Gold” makes for restraint would be more credible if this book showed some. But its ending is so over the top that those readers will feel had.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Patrick Nes on Jun 08 2012

In the end, Gold is a bit of a crowd-pleaser, and though I wished things didn't all come together quite so neatly, there's no denying that the novel is...an entertaining ride.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Alex Preston on Jun 02 2012

Gold is indeed a sentimental novel but it has that rare gift...to stir us because it does, indeed, matter.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Mar 26 2012

From start to finish, this is a truly Olympic-level literary achievement.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by NABEELAH JAFFER on Jul 26 2012

Mr. Cleave is making a point about the human condition, but it is neither subtle nor original.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jul 03 2012

Novels, like racing, depend on careful pacing, and Cleave calibrates his performance with the skill of a real pro, carefully ratcheting up the intensity as he finesses curves and heads into his final laps.

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Corrina Lothar on Sep 07 2012

Chris Cleave is a remarkable writer of great talent.

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Globe and Mail

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Nurse on Jun 19 2012

...aspects of the novel that appear original wind up feeling clichéd...

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Entertainment Weekly

Below average
Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum on Jul 11 2012

The drama in Gold, though, is so swollen, and the writing so pumped up with "style," that the sentences themselves begin to get in the way of the story's momentum — their showiness becomes an aerodynamic drag, even as the author throws himself into conveying the rigors and thrills of cycling.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Carolyn Kellogg on Jul 22 2012

Cleave can write a fine sentence, but this book has some serious clunkers.

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The Telegraph

Good
Reviewed by Caroline Greene on Jul 15 2012

Go for Gold if you want to enter into some Olympic spirit via the ups and downs of a tight-knit group of characters.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Robin Legget on Feb 14 2013

...a very good book about success and what people will give up to achieve it.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by JAY JENNINGS on Jul 09 2012

...the races are short and explosive head-to-head battles.

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Tyrone Beason on Jul 16 2012

While "Gold" lacks the strong narrative voice of the title character in Cleave's breathtakingly beautiful last novel, "Little Bee," there's rich material here. It's fascinating to watch cyclists with superhuman abilities measure time in thousandths of seconds while trying to keep up with the more mortal rhythms of life, longing and love.

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Express

Above average
Reviewed by Christopher Bray on Jun 01 2012

Cleave artfully interleaves such moments of high-tensile emotion with no less taut descriptions of action on the track...Chris Cleave deserves a medal.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
on Jul 21 2012

Chris Cleave is a writer who goes for your throat and doesn't let go.

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Denver Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Robin Vidimos on Jul 15 2012

...a superb job of carrying tension through the narrative.

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The Columbus Dispatch

Good
Reviewed by Margaret Quamme on Jul 01 2012

His novel is trim but not oversimplified or glossy...

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Excellent
Reviewed by Justine Ettler on Jun 30 2012

...Cleave captures all the excitement of cycling...

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Deseret News

Excellent
Reviewed by Danica Baird on Jul 14 2012

This novel will take readers on an emotional roller coaster...

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Erin Miller on Feb 14 2013

Cleave can write, and I hope I get to read everything he does.

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We Love This Book

Excellent
Reviewed by Jade Craddock on Feb 14 2013

Chris Cleave has created a powerful and evocative story...

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Watermark Books And Cafe

Good
Reviewed by Beth Golay on Mar 16 2014

Beautifully penned, Cleave illustrates the ultimate sacrifice required in both sickness and health. When ambition is sacrificed for love, the quest for Olympic gold becomes a discovery of the richness of life.

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Journal Sentinel

Excellent
Reviewed by Jill Higgins on Jul 07 2012

...exciting race scenes and coach talk feel spot-on...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Jon on Jul 01 2012

...a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling.

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The Coast

Good
on Jul 27 2012

...Cleave’s abiding regard for humanity and the foibles of our shared condition dominate every page.

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Los Angeles Review of Books

Excellent
on Aug 06 2012

...a seemingly effortless balance between tenderness and tension.

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Fiction Writers Review

Below average
on Jul 09 2012

...a novel that has the predictability and pathos of a Disney movie...

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The Courier-Journal

Good
on Jul 27 2012

If it seems the book is about a lot of different things, it is. But that's part of its charm: There is a little something here for everyone...That's a big order for one book, but Cleave manages it all with wit and flourish.

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Nashville Public Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Sharra on Jul 13 2012

Chris Cleave weaves an intricate story around winning and love.

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The Blurb

Below average
Reviewed by William Rycroft on Feb 14 2013

...this book may not have achieved any of the things that horrible blurb promised for me...

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TheRecord.com

Above average
Reviewed by Susan Fish on Jun 22 2012

Although the actual Olympic Games are secondary in this novel, they do play a pivotal role and I recommend this book wholeheartedly as preparation for this year’s upcoming competition.

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Yummy Mummy Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Wanda Young on Jul 11 2012

Chris Cleave is the type of author who "walks the talk."

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The Booksellers New Zealand blog

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah McMullan on Jul 26 2012

Yes, a lot of this novel is about the sport of cycling but it’s not about the bikes – it’s about the people racing them and the people that keep their lives running. It’s about love and loyalty...A perfect book for a wet weekend or book group.

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Book Coasters

Excellent
Reviewed by Jules on Jan 14 2013

Gold is as fast-paced as the characters themselves and a great way to while away some hours out of the heat.

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Reader Rating for Gold
73%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 311 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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