The Golden Mean: A Novel SIGNED
AbeBooks Seller Since November 16, 2005Quantity Available: 1
AbeBooks Seller Since November 16, 2005Quantity Available: 1
About this Item
Title: The Golden Mean: A Novel SIGNED
Publisher: Random House Canada
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Hard Cover
Dust Jacket Condition: VG
Signed: Signed by Author
About this title
On the orders of his boyhood friend, now King Philip of Macedon, Aristotle postpones his dreams of succeeding Plato as leader of the Academy in Athens and reluctantly arrives in the Macedonian capital of Pella to tutor the king’s adolescent sons. An early illness has left one son with the intellect of a child; the other is destined for greatness but struggles between a keen mind that craves instruction and the pressures of a society that demands his prowess as a soldier.
Initially Aristotle hopes for a short stay in what he considers the brutal backwater of his childhood. But, as a man of relentless curiosity and reason, Aristotle warms to the challenge of instructing his young charges, particularly Alexander, in whom he recognizes a kindred spirit, an engaged, questioning mind coupled with a unique sense of position and destiny.
Aristotle struggles to match his ideas against the warrior culture that is Alexander’s birthright. He feels that teaching this startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate necessity. And that what the boy – thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields – needs most is to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer.
Aristotle struggles to inspire balance in Alexander, and he finds he must also play a cat-and-mouse game of power and influence with Philip in order to manage his own ambitions.
As Alexander’s position as Philip’s heir strengthens and his victories on the battlefield mount, Aristotle’s attempts to instruct him are honoured, but increasingly unheeded. And despite several troubling incidents on the field of battle, Alexander remains steadfast in his desire to further the reach of his empire to all known and unknown corners of the world, rendering the intellectual pursuits Aristotle offers increasingly irrelevant.
Exploring this fabled time and place, Annabel Lyon tells her story in the earthy, frank, and perceptive voice of Aristotle himself. With sensual and muscular prose, she explores how Aristotle’s genius touched the boy who would conquer the known world. And she reveals how we still live with the ghosts of both men.
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: In mathematics, the principle of the Golden Mean refers to a series of numbers in which each new number is the sum of the previous two, poetically illustrated by the chambers of a nautilus shell. And so Annabel Lyon’s debut novel The Golden Mean portrays lives that grow bigger as they unfold--in this case, two of the most notable lives ever lived, those of Alexander the Great and his tutor, Aristotle. In sharply executed, revealing dialogue, Lyon draws contrasts between the rational, sensitive Aristotle and the charming, dangerous Alexander, and we're reminded of another sense of the Golden Mean, the classical ideal of a balance between extremes. In this subtle, earthy story, we watch as the events of Aristotle’s life mold the ideas that made him famous, and watch those ideas in turn mold the prince of Macedon who would one day "open his mouth and swallow the whole world." Lyon draws the curtain back on the smoke-filled huts and palace chambers that shaped the lives of these two great men, whose mutual admiration and intellect transformed civilization. It’s historical fiction at its finest. --Juliet Disparte
Hilary Mantel Reviews The Golden Mean
Hilary Mantel is the author of ten novels, including A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, and the Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she reviews for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England. Read her review of The Golden Mean:
I think this quietly ambitious and beautifully achieved novel is one of the most convincing historical novels I have ever read. Lyon makes her reader avid for every detail of this strange world, whether domestic or medical or military, and she has steeped herself in the thinking of the time. She makes her characters entirely solid and real, while respecting their otherness, the distance between us. That is what characterized Mary Renault's novels, and I think that she would have deeply admired this book. There is a particular difficulty for the novelist in putting on the page characters, like Aristotle and Alexander, who are so famous that they have a mythic quality--there is the danger that anything you say will be bathetic. Lyon avoids this by clear-eyed directness, by freshness of vision, and prose that is clean and careful. And I thought that she chose to end the story at precisely the right point. Part of me said "please let there be more," but at the same time I recognize the job is done. Throughout, I think her judgment is sound and true, and the reader trusts her voice from the first paragraph.
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