This is the perfect novel to read concurrently with the London Olympics as it demonstrates with adroitness the lengths athletes must go to in order to stay at the top of their game. At the heart of ‘Gold’ are two women, Zoe and Kate, they are Cyclists, best friends, training buddies and have been rivals for the gold since they were nineteen. At thirty-two both women has had her share of wins and losses both on and off the bike, yet their abiding friendship remains. Cleave takes us on the girls journey to their final Olympics in London whilst seamlessly telling the story of the various failures and successes that have led them to this point.
I found this book to be a revelation – I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t enthusiastic about the prospect of reading about sport. Yet ‘Gold’ is about so much more than Cycling, despite the fact both women were defined by it. The sport is both ever-present and at the same time somehow serves as a prop to the narrative that unfolds around it. The characters were finely drawn and so real, oft times confronting yet at the same time endearing, their circumstances are so different to the general public yet their issues so pervasive. The writing was beautifully refined and at the same time subversive and the suspense that built in Cleave’s capable hands had me racing to the finish…pun intended.