Astartlingly original first novel by ldquo;this generationrsquo;s answer to Alice Munrordquo; (The Vancouver Sun)-a bold reimagining of one of historyrsquo;s most intriguing relationships: between legendary philosopher Aristotle and his most famous pupil, the young Alexander the Great. 342 B.C.: Aristotle is reluctant to set aside his own ambitions in order to tutor Alexander, the rebellious son of his boyhood friend Philip of Macedon. But the philosopher soon comes to realize that teaching this charming, surprising, sometimes horrifying teenager-heir to the Macedonian throne, forced onto the battlefield before his time-is a desperate necessity amid the ever more sinister intrigues of Philiprsquo;s court. Told in the brilliantly rendered voice of Aristotle-keenly intelligent, often darkly funny-The Golden Meanbrings ancient Greece to vivid life via the story of this remarkable friendship between two towering figures, innovator and conqueror, whose views of the world still resonate today.
The bond between teacher and student occupies the center of Canadian Lyon's debut novel covering the three years during which Aristotle tutored the young Alexander the Great, before Alexander's accession to the throne of Macedonia. The philosopher narrates, recounting his arrival in the court of Philip of Macedon, Aristotle's upbringing, and his bond with the ruling family. The teenaged Alexander is headstrong and arrogant, but also insecure and vulnerable. "Every student is both a challenge and a laurel leaf," Aristotle says in an early, disputatious meeting. "I haven't seen anything in you that tells me you're extraordinary in any way." Alexander matures as he absorbs Aristotle's core principles. "You must look for the mean between extremes, the point of balance," Aristotle advises the future military genius. Lyon depicts Aristotle's desire to instill a sense of virtue in his royal pupil in clear, often earthy language, and brings 4th-century Greece to startling life. Lyon richly imagines Aristotle's stint as Macedon's royal academician, who gave Alexander the intellectual tools to not only rule but to civilize. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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September 06, 2010
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