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July 26, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Kate and Zoe are trained to be the fastest and the best. They started training together at 19, and the two track-cycling stars have been the perfect balance for each other in and out of competition. Kate has more natural talent and a big heart, and Zoe has a detached drive.
Gold is the fictional story of two best friends who are now 32 and racing through personal trials toward the 2012 London Olympics. Kate and Zoe have become accustomed to their friendly rivalry, but the rules of competition suddenly change. Because only one will be able to compete at the games, each woman will be challenged to re-evaluate her life.Related Articles
Kate must reconcile her commitment to being a pro athlete with having a husband, also an Olympic cyclist, and a daughter battling leukemia. Zoe must figure out how to overcome heartbreak and regret without losing her way.
In each of Chris Cleave’s three novels, he invites readers into a disturbingly realistic human tragedy. His beautifully penned characters then fight their way through the book. With this style, Cleave depicts the good in humanity, and his latest novel, Gold, is consistent in this effort.
Cleave juxtaposes visual imagery with his characters’ lives and personalities. Despite Zoe’s attitude and self-guided detachment, “the noise of the crowd (is) liquidizing her guts” as she awaits her turn during the 2004 Olympics.
In an opposite manner, composed Kate rides through life at a slower pace and chooses to stay home during the 2004 Olympics to be with her newborn daughter. The physically delicate Sophie, now 8, seems as if she might shatter if the pages of the story aren’t turned carefully. However, her determination to convince her parents she’s OK challenges this fragility.
Cleave’s research makes for a credible exploration of the extremes of sickness and health, and it comes across as a victory for the author. Told in a charming and simplistic style, Gold is a gripping tale of brokenness and triumph, both inside and outside the Olympic arena.