This is the first book I read because it showed up in a friend’s list of books on Goodreads, which I just joined because I am having a hard time finding books that I want to read.
Gold by Chris Cleave
While the story revolves around two Olympic athletes, I would have enjoyed it even if I wasn’t reading it during the pre-Olympics hype, and while the athletes are velodrome bicyclists, I would have enjoyed it even if I wasn’t reading it during the Tour de France.
I don’t like the summary on Amazon and think it may reveal too much, but I pretty much agree with this Publisher’s Weekly review on the author’s website:
Cleave goes for the gold and brings it home in his thrillingly written and emotionally rewarding novel about the world of professional cycling … Cleave expertly cycles through the characters’ tangled past and present, charting their ever-shifting dynamic as ultra-competitive Zoe and Kate are forced to decide whether winning means more to them than friendship … Cleave likewise pulls out all the stops getting inside the hearts and minds of his engagingly complex characters. The race scenes have true visceral intensity, leaving the reader feeling breathless … From start to finish, this is a truly Olympic-level literary achievement.
I found the book to be well-written, fast-paced enough to keep me turning the pages (or swiping them on my iPhone Kindle App), and engaging enough to make me care about the characters and what happens to them. The main “conflict” between the two athletes was intriguing—on the one hand, they are (nearly) life-long friends, while on the other hand they are fierce competitors in the same Olympic event. Instead of asking if a man and a woman can be “just friends,” this book explores whether two women can compete and be friends at the same time. While my work is more collegial than competitive, I do know women who work in more cut-throat environments and feel that their female colleagues are their worst enemies.
Have you read any good books lately?
Are you on Goodreads?