Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gold by Chris Cleave

Zoe knows what winning Olympic gold feels like. She knows what it's like to win the biggest race of your life and to feel like you will die if you don't. Kate knows what it feels like to come just short of the chance that you've been working towards for your entire life. She knows how her life isn't just her life, but how it intersects with the lives of the people that she loves. Zoe and Kate have in each others lives since they were teenagers who met at an elite training camp for cyclists. In the years since they have been teammates, rivals, competitors, enemies, and friends. The 2012 London Olympics, held in their home country, will be their last Olympics, but it will be impossible for both of them to get to compete. This one last competition between the two women echoes their history and has the power to determine the rest of their lives.

I could not put this book down. I loved the insight that it provided into the mind of a highly competitive athlete. Zoe saw nothing as off-limits, including mind games as varied as trying to make a competitor think that her cycle is broken or playing a 'long con' of pretending to steal her boyfriend. While Zoe and Kate are at the centre of the novel, the story in many ways is just as much about the other people in their world. Completing their sphere are Tom (their coach), Jack (Kate's husband and a champion cyclist who has known both Zoe and Kate since that first training camp), and Sophie (Jack and Kate's leukemia-stricken daughter). All five of these people are struggling with things that they hide and avoid until they can't be hidden anymore. The story is told with interspersed flashbacks; remarks and details from the beginning of the story take on a completely different meaning by the end of the book. It's compelling and timely and a great book for readers in this Olympic year.

Learn more about Chris Cleave at his website.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Random House Canada.

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou
Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

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