Deborah Dicks's Reviews > Gold

Gold by Chris Cleave
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's review
Apr 23, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 19 to 22, 2012

If you have read Cleave's 'The Other Hand' you will be familiar with his style of writing, of which the strongest element, in my opinion, is his characterisation. He creates characters that are flawed, realistic and believable, and this is what we see in 'Gold' too. We have Zoe, a ruthless woman for whom winning is more important than anything, even her friends; Kate who is equally determined to win but is gentler and softer, a mother and a wife; Jack, Kate's husband who seems to play 'pig in the middle' between Kate and Zoe at times; Tom, the ageing coach of both women, the coach with a heart of gold (no pun intended); Sophie, daughter of Kate and Jack, battling bravely with an insidious disease. And yet these characters are not caricatures - they are fully-rounded. For example, Zoe is not only the single-minded ruthless competitor; she also has her own sadness, and "baggage" and reasons for her self-destructive drive. This is true of all the characters - they all have their strengths and weaknesses, positive aspects and flaws - and this is the wonder of Cleave's writing.

I did not think I would like this novel at first; after all I am not particularly interested in sport in general or cycling specifically, and certainly there is a lot of focus on cycling techniques and terminology in the beginning. I came close to casting it aside, but I am so glad I persevered as this evolved into a gripping story in which cycling is merely the setting. The novel is really about people, how they interact, how they cope with the things life throws at them, the choices they make, and the consequences of those choices. Don't let the sporting theme deter you - there is so much more to this novel than that.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Lisa (scarlet21) The Other Hand didn't do much for me and it's made me ambiguous about any others he may write; this sounds like it might be an improvement though.

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