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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  15,195 ratings  ·  2,420 reviews
Building on the tradition of Little Bee, Chris Cleave again writes with elegance, humor, and passion about friendship, marriage, parenthood, tragedy, and redemption.

Gold is the story of Zoe and Kate, world-class athletes who have been friends and rivals since their first day of Elite training. They've loved, fought, betrayed, forgiven, consoled, gloried, and grown up toget
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 28th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2012)
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Sandy Almost as good but I have to put Little Bee a bit above.

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  15,195 ratings  ·  2,420 reviews

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Anne Bogel
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When my husband, Will, did his guest stint on What Should I Read Next, he named this as his favorite book possibly ever—and so I made it a winter break priority. I LOVED it and read it in two days.

The story centers around two velodrome cyclists who are best friends and arch-rivals, training under the same coach for their last remaining shot at the London Olympics, while respectively navigating personal crises and the life-threatening sickness of a child (note that content warning, please). I wa
switterbug (Betsey)
Reviewers who have read LITTLE BEE will feel compelled to compare the two books, not in subject matter, but in caliber or merit. LITTLE BEE was a powerful, keen, fresh, and original story that remains one of my most esteemed of 2009. GOLD has a similar architectural structure and captive writing style (but is in third person rather than first). The breaks within chapters headed in bold font are familiar, the soaring, poetic, exquisite metaphors and fluent writing resonates, and a young girl engr ...more
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An alchemist is needed to make this gold!
Such a disappointment

The race was on! For me it was a race between throwing it across the room or getting to the finish. Only the fact that it was on my Kindle saved it being thrown. And only the hope that it would improve got me to the finish.

I had been so eagerly awaiting this. I had read pre-release review and interviews, so I knew that it was a change of pace to The Other Hand (aka Little Bee) and Incendiary. But I did expect the depth, the empathy, t
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The trouble with a Chris Cleave book is that you can't put it down, they are so readable! I didn't think this book would be for me as I avoid sports at all costs but how wrong was I. This is more than a book on athletes, this is a book that has you on the edge, that makes you want to scream at the pages, that makes you cry and gives you hope. I loved it.
My screenwriter boyfriend tells me there is a certain way that stories are supposed to go, a certain formula of events, if you will. Read enough books, see enough movies, and one begins to really believe that. The trick to good story telling is to have stories go in the way that they are supposed to go without giving away, too obviously, where it is going. Gold reads in exactly the way the story is supposed to go. I could have told you from the first 50 pages where the story line should go, and ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really give this book *6* stars ----(its sooooooooooooooooo GOOD)!!!!!

I love the characters --the story itself-- and the writing.

I personally have not had an athletic 'rush' with the 2012 Olympics yet ---(but I had a huge 'rush' reading *GOLD*). On-the-edge-engaging-reading!!!!

Zoe-Kate-Jack-Tom-Sophie are each characters you'll feel you know well. The author does an outstanding job with 'character-development'. (these guys become part of your own blood).

*Biking* is great sport to write abou
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story to three top athletes, bike racers on the Olympic level, and what drives them. This isn't really a sports story, though you do learn a great deal about the grueling training that these folks willingly endure. It's about team mates who are sometimes friends and other times not, with a complicated past and an even more complicated present. It's about parenthood, relationships, priorities and the sacrifices that are made for love, or fear. It's about celebrity and intimacy, of the ...more
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Uplifting and inspirational, this tale of love in the face of illness is as powerful as real-life. Gold is unexpectedly hopeful and avoids much of the depressing themes of most "cancer books", and yet it still raises awareness of cancer itself in a tasteful and appropriate manner.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I put off reading this book – it was hearing it was about cycling at the Olympics that did it. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but I really should have known better – I’ve read Chris Cleave’s other two books. And I didn’t just enjoy it, I absolutely loved it and didn’t want it to end. I don’t have a sporty competitive bone in my body, but this book really isn’t about sport – it’s about love and the things human beings do to each other. I thought the characters were wonderfully drawn – Sop ...more
Richard Brand
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who don't mind the Sad Stuff
Sh*t happens.

Sometimes it's your fault. You make bad decisions. You decide to push when you shouldn't. You sleep with the wrong person. You have unprotected sex when you should have used a condom. You say hurtful things to someone when you should have kept your mouth shut.

Other times, the sh*t is just the universe's random happenings. Your child gets cancer. Your mom commits suicide. A car runs over the only person who ever really loved and understood you.

This story of Chris Cleave's is personal
Zoe and Kate are world-class athletes; they have been rivals on the track from the very start but they are also friends. Gold follows the story of these two cyclists life leading up the 2012 London Olympics. Both women will be tested on and off the track, being pushed to their physical and emotional limits. The book follows the two through most of their professional career, starting at 19 all the way up to training for their final Olympic event.

This is a strong character driven book, Kate is th
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are quite a few very negative comments on this book. It just proves once again how different we are as readers and what our expectations are of a "good read". I gave GOLD 5 stars. I thought it was an excellent read that kept my interest level high all the way through.

It is the story of 3 world class cyclists, training for the 2012 Olympics. The 2 females, Kate & Zoe are best friends and best rivals, competing on the same team for the Gold medal. The 3rd cyclist is Jack, who ends up marryi
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it was Newsweek's book club's summer pick. "Gold" follows three track cycling athletes as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics, flashing back to past competitions and personal conflicts. I could tell that the book was well-researched; it was interesting to get a glimpse of the dedication and single-mindedness it takes to train for a sport at this elite level. (Side recommendation: a far superior book about professional dedication and training is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff )

Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the novel was disappointing - I just kept looking for the Chris Cleave of Incendiary and Little Bee and could not find it. Once the real tension surfaced, the author I remembered did as well. Patience is the key, and the last 1/3 will reward the reader for the build up time. Perhaps I was not as enamored with the beginning because I have some connections to the competitive spirits and dilemmas described. The novel undoubtedly connects on a different level for anyone who partici ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2014
Zoe and Kate are cyclist at the very top of their game, with almost nothing to choose between them in their chosen discipline of the sprint. They have been rivals and friends ever since they were on the elite training scheme together.

Kate is married to Jack, another British cycling star who has been a gold medal holder in the past. With Kate they have a daughter Sophie, who is a Star Wars nut, but she is tragically suffering from Leukaemia. Kate and jack are flat out with her care and training a
Diane S ☔
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an emotionally intense and powerful read I found this to be, who knew? When I first started reading this novel I thought "Super, a book about Olympic caliber cyclists" which was for me of interest in and of itself. Yet this book was so much more, Cleave has an unusual talent in developing characters that are easy to identify with. Yes it is about the athletes conditioning, dieting and training, which I found to be absolutely amazing, but it is about friendship and sacrifice as well. Loved t ...more
Apr 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ninety pages in, I found this embarrassment of a sentence: "Sex was cheap money that you could print on demand and use to buy a reprieve from loneliness till morning." Deep. Those words were so cheesy, so ham-fisted, so cliched that I would have simply returned the book to the library were I not working toward my 2013 reading goal. What was another 200 pages or so?

After that, the really bad metaphors appeared about once every thirty pages. I don't understand how the editors didn't prevent words
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I'd be clever and read this during the Olympics and then write up a little review, saying that I'd been clever and read it during the Olympics, and be done with it. But I'm scalded. Scorched. Drained. Breathless. Crossing the finish line won't be that simple.

This book quite literally explodes with metaphor, narrative, and fascinating, technical information. There isn't a reason in the world not to read this, unless you are (a) have ever been a parent; or (b) you are currently under th
Jenny Shank
I try to avoid reading other reviews of books I’m reviewing until after I’ve turned my review into my editor. The only exception to this is when I want to double check that my reading of a murky plot point was correct. Gold was the first novel by Chris Cleave I’d read, and I knew that he had a reputation for writing literate and popular books, so I was surprised when I found the opening pages of it so off-putting.

Often my first impression of a book is the one that I carry through to the end of i
Jessica Woodbury
May 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, arc
I feel bad about this. I know people are really excited for this book. And I expect most people will give this book 4 or 5 stars. But it had problems I could not get past.

Gold is about 2 world-class cyclists who are training partners and friends in addition to being rivals. Zoe is cold and focused, Kate is warm and willing to sacrifice her sport for her family. Kate's sacrifices happen an awful lot as her daughter, Sophie, has leukemia.

Cleave has in the past shown some pretty impressive plottin
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know it is hard to not compare an author's previous work their current work but it worked out well for me because I read "Little Bee" at least ten years ago so I've had time to separate Cleave's work.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Gold" and I know I did because I could not put it down. I was thrown into the cycling world with Kate and Zoe, both are world class cyclist vying for their last shot of Olympic gold... get this, they are also long time friends.

I loved how fast paced the book was, my only dr
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not particularly interested in sport, neither as participant nor spectator so if I hadn't been swept away by Chris Cleave's previous writing, it is doubtful that I'd have picked up a novel with 3 Olympic cyclists as key characters. Anyone who passes over Gold for this reason is passing up on the chance of a whirlwind of a reading experience so don't let those miserable memories of despotic PE teachers put you off and give your brain a gentle work out in the process.

So, let's set the (Olymp
Simon Lipson
Cleave is popular and his books sell, so what do I know? I hated The Other Hand but decided to give this one a go because I was interested in the sports rivalry theme. Cleave actually does a decent job of getting into the minds of focused sports people and some of his descriptive passages are fine - especially those depicting the physical and mental processes of athletes during races.

But...this is a schmaltzy, mawkish load of tosh, with one dimensional characters and a central friendship that do
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zoe, Kate and Jack all emerge as talented young sprint cyclists, and go on to train and challenge at the highest level, with that ultimate aim, Olympic Gold. This story follows them as they prepare for the London 2012 Olympics, and throughout the novel we are taken back at intervals to learn what happened when they were young, to discover how they all first met, and what has happened at other key turning points in their lives, including Athens and Beijing, to bring them to where they are, and ma ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot more wrong with this book than there is right, which is to say that while there are some touching scenes, it is overall really really bad.
Chris Cleave, whose Little Bee struck me as rather overrated and overly cute, takes on the Olympics and kids with cancer. I am making a new rule: stop writing about kids with cancer. It is the new Holocaust. What a nifty way to ensure that your readers will care about your characters without you having to, say, create characters. As to the Olymp
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I’d give this book a 2.5. There are few plot details in this review and no spoilers.
Gold is, to put it simply, the story of best friends who are competing for the spot at their last Olympics. Always dramatic, sometimes tender, rarely amusing, Gold is less about cycling and medals, and more about surviving. This was my first Chris Cleave book and probably my last.
Let me start with this: Gold had an amazing opening. I love the Olympics. I love the energy behind it that is unlike any other sporting
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2012
Chris Cleave is definitely one of my favourite living authors; a real wordsmith who knows how to make his characters truly complex and real, and the story lines engaging with the odd twist thrown in, and I've been anticipating the release of his latest novel since last autumn.

However, I wasn't that taken with "Gold" when I was about a quarter into it. Firstly, the cynic in me didn't appreciate the timing of the book's release ("coinciding" with the dawn of the London Olympics) thinking "oh no,
Paul Samael
I'm all for authors trying something different rather than just ploughing the same furrow - so all credit for Chris Cleave for doing that here. And I did try to put aside expectations based on my enthusiasm for Chris Cleave's previous 2 novels, Incendiary and The Other Hand (Little Bee in the US). I also think Chris Cleave is an excellent writer who is capable of producing exceptional material - but I'm afraid Gold just didn't work for me.

Zoe and Kate are 2 rival cyclists in the run-up to the 20
Amy Warrick

Well, what I thought of first in describing this book is...meh. Had I read this before 'Little Bee' and 'Incendiary' I'd have put Chris Cleave in that category of 'I'm at the airport and need a book fast and this one will be at least readable but not great' authors. I'll still give him another chance based on the earlier books...but watch it, Mr. Cleave. I am onto you. You think I'll buy anything with your name on it and you are skating on thin ice.

There wasn't a believable character in this
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Chris Cleave was born in London and spent his early years in Cameroon. He studied experimental psychology at Balliol College, Oxford. His debut novel, INCENDIARY, won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and is now a feature film. His second novel, LITTLE BEE, is a New York Times #1 bestseller with over 2 million copies in print. GOLD is his thir ...more

Articles featuring this book

A novel of athletic and emotional extremes, Gold pits two close friends and cyclists against each other as they race for the chance to compete in...
16 likes · 4 comments
“Her life was one endless loop that she raced around, with steep banked curves so she could never change or slow down. It just delivered her back to herself, over and over and over.” 13 likes
“Looking after a very sick child was the Olympics of parenting.” 11 likes
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