If there are only a handful of books you plan on reading this year then Gold should be right on top of that listAndrew Josef email@example.com
The beauty of a book is not in the words that lie emblazoned on its pages. Rather, true literary majesty is in the emotions those words inspire in a reader. Chris Cleave’s Gold is majesty incarnate. Set in the competitive world of sprint cycling, Cleave weaves his tale around three British riders: Husband and wife Jack and Kate, and their friend and racing companion Zoe. Theirs is the quest for the ultimate trophy…the disc of gold that bears the insignia of sport’s greatest meeting, the Olympics. But Gold is about much more than a race for the zenith of sporting achievement, it is also about friendship, family, and the fine line that separates the supremely focussed from the terminally insane.
Thrown into this mix of three ferociously competitive people is Sophie, daughter of Kate and Jack, and a girl who is struggling with her own, very personal, battle. Sophie delves into the Star Wars universe to get away from the mundane and the frightening that life so often throws at you. She hides behind a Jedi cowl and hitches rides on Tai fighters as she navigates her way through a cosmos that is as much a life-vest as it is an imaginary playground for her unafflicted psyche.
Then there’s Tom, the hexageneric coach who must juggle the roles of trainer, father, confidant, and above all, the rock around which the raging seas of egotism and ambition swirl in never-ending eddies of turmoil.
Cleave carves each character out a bedrock so sublime that it borders on unreal. But don’t be fooled, this is very real indeed. As the three cyclists race towards qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the reader is taken on a whirlwind journey around the world’s velodromes; sent spiralling down hospital corridors and then shot into a stratosphere thick with anguish, despair and regret.
Gold is a phenomenally written book, and any more insight into the plot would have to traverse a minefield of spoilers, too enriching to be set free.
The book thrives on an undercurrent of desperation; a clawing sense that life is fleeting and if not grasped firmly it slips eel-like from your hands only to gasp its way to an end at your feet. But sailing over this very desperation is also a boat built from triumph with sails of love and spurred on by a wind of acceptance. The fact that each of the characters, bar Sophie, is living with horrific demons, makes them more tangible; more real; more You and I and less Them.
If there are only a handful of books you plan on reading this year then Gold should be right on top of that list. As the back jacket states: “This book is only partly about the story, mostly it’s about how it makes you feel”.
Author: Chris Cleave
Publisher: Hachette India