A Blagger's Guide To: Gold
Some 24-Carat performances to treasure
Sunday 12 August 2012
For once, Britain's sporting achievement is nearly as good as its literary achievement. We can't promise to match Team GB and NI by fitting more than 25 golden attainments into this small column, but here are the Blagger's favourite golden literary oldies. And anyone who can read to the end without getting Spandau Ballet stuck in their head wins a medal.
Gold, by Dan Rhodes: a typically whimsical, Rhodesian story about a young woman holidaying alone in a Welsh village. There are pub quizzes, rain, a cast of eccentric characters, a rock on the beach and a can of gold spray paint … a very British tale.
Gold, by Chris Cleave: written and published before the 2012 London Olympics, this is about two women cyclists and their dramas both in and out of the saddle. Victoria Pendleton they're not, but the portrayal of the passion and determination behind sporting glory can rival a Chris Boardman commentary for accuracy and spirit.
The Death of Eli Gold, by David Baddiel: the fourth novel by the sometime comedian. It begins with the world's greatest living writer, Eli Gold, lying in a hospital bed surrounded by his family and awaiting a deathbed visit from Bill Clinton. "At its heart," wrote The Independent on Sunday's reviewer, "is the notion of 'greatness', or rather, a prehistoric, faithless notion of greatness".
Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming (1959): the seventh in the James Bond series. The British architect Erno Goldfinger planned to sue over the use of his name, until he found out that the baddie was actually based on an American tycoon. Ian Fleming owned a gold-plated Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable typewriter, which he commissioned from The Royal Typewriter Co in New York in 1952. It was bought at auction by an anonymous bidder in 1995 – nobody knows where it is now.
Ian McKellen has starred in a Radio 4 adaptation of Goldfinger (as Goldfinger) and also in the film of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, as the voice of the polar bear Iorek Byrnison.
Among those sportsmen and women whose autobiographies include the word Gold in their titles are: Gold: A Triple Champion's Story, by the Irish swimmer Michelle Smith, published by Mainstream, and Gold Rush, by the American sprinter Michael Johnson published by HarperSport.
"Blood and Gold" is the second half of George RR Martin's gigantic novel A Storm of Swords, which itself is the third of seven planned novels in the 22 million-selling series "A Song of Ice and Fire". Blood and Gold is also the eight novel of 10 in Anne Rice's 80-million selling Vampire Chronicles series.
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing (1962) was chosen by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present, but initial reviews were not so favourable. "I was surprised at the sourness and bad temper of some of them," Lessing has since said, "full of epithets like 'man-hater', 'ballsbreaker'."
Glen David Gold, the author of Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, is married to the author Alice Sebold, who wrote The Lovely Bones and Lucky. You could call them literature's golden couple.
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