Cleave's latest novel, Gold, is a vast departure. The plot follows the bitter rivalry and fraught friendship of Zoe and Kate, two elite women cyclists who met as teenagers and took divergent paths to the top. Zoe competed ruthlessly, manipulating and sometimes endangering her opponents to win. Kate chose marriage and the care of a daughter, whose illness kept her out of the games in Athens and Beijing. The tension is tightened leading up to the trials for the London 2012 Olympic games in London, the culmination of a lifetime of ambition and sacrifice for both.
Chris Cleave took the stage at the music hall and talked about why he took on the topic of elite athletic competition…for him, the fascination began at home. Then, we sat down for a conversation about choosing athletes as the subject for this latest work, why he writes from the perspective of women, and the challenges of his own choice between love and ambition.