Kate and Zoe are world-class athletes on track for the 2012 Olympics. Despite endless head-to-head competitions for titles, prize money, coaching—even men—and with totally different personalities (Kate’s a kindly, devoted mom, Zoe’s aggressive and promiscuous), they’ve become fast friends. But as they head toward the battle of their lives in London and the last finish line of their careers, will they finally realize that what’s paramount isn’t shiny medals or the euphoria of a win? Chris Cleave (Little Bee, Incendiary) successfully—if not surprisingly—uses bicycle racing as a metaphor for life: the competition, cooperation, satisfaction, luck and sometimes sheer unfairness of it all. But where the writing really shines is in the way Cleave mimics the pace of racing, sometimes speeding up the action, sometimes pulling back to heart-stopping effect. An unforgettable ride.
Gold, Chris Cleave, $30.