Gold. It’s pure gold…

Posted on October 27, 2013

ImageI rarely read fiction books. Even as a child, I was never a big fan of fictional stories. I just preferred non-fiction, ‘real’ stuff that could be learnt and applied to my own life and thoughts. Non-fiction seemed somehow more grown up and fiction, more the place for faraway fantasies and escapism.

But recently I read Gold, a beautifully intricate story about athletic ambition, competition, glory and sacrifice. I honestly can’t imagine any sports lovers not finding themselves immersed in the pages, gripped by the thrilling yet tragic story that unfolds. I shan’t spoil it for those who’ve yet to read it but to give you a snapshot, the author, Chris Cleave, takes you on a captivating ride with no shortage of twists and turns. You find yourself laughing out loud at times and at others, laced with tears and sadness for the hand of cards that life sometimes throws us.

The book had a timely-release last year, given its Olympic theme, yet it’s as much a trackside thriller based on the world of top-level cycling as it is a sentimental domestic drama. And let’s face it, whatever your level in the sporting world, there’s no escaping day-to-day life, the responsibilities that come with lovers and others, kids and cats, work and play.

Every character in the book is somehow marred with tragedy, be it physically, emotionally or mentally. And every reader, I suspect, can at times identify with elements of each character. Perhaps, that’s why it’s such a great read.  It’s so strikingly well-written that you can, all at once, feel desperately sorry for a character, totally identify with the way they’re thinking and feel angry with them for their actions. Such are the complexities of the human mind!

If in need of a romp of a read, pick this up. You’ll love it. It’s bold and brave and a wonderful reminder of the sometimes love : hate relationship we have with our chosen sports. I know from a trail running point of view, that there have been just as many moments when I’ve felt total peace and contentment exploring far-fetched corners as I’ve had moments asking myself what exactly I’m trying to prove and why I put myself through such pain! I guess it boils down, as with so much in life, to nothing easy being particularly worthwhile. Only when we’re stretched and challenged, do we grow, achieve and feel the innate rewards that live on, far beyond the finish line.

Gold. It’s pure gold…

By Chris Cleave.


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