El Maestro de Alejandro
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El Maestro de Alejandro

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,937 ratings  ·  283 reviews
What would it have been like to sit at the feet of the legendary philosopher Aristotle? Even more intriguing, what would it have been like to witness Aristotle instructing the most famous of his pupils, the young Alexander the Great?

In her first novel, acclaimed fiction writer Annabel Lyon boldly imagines one of history’s most intriguing relationships and the war at its h...more
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published May 15th 2011 by Roca (first published 2009)
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I have read entirely too many ponderous and self-aware books lately, books written to please the author first and the reader second, books whose construction is as much the point of writing the book as its contents. I only realised that when I read "Golden Mean", because it is not such a book. It's like the first time you have a really good steak and realise that all the others, those artistic meat arrangements, were too focused on visual taste and not enough on gustatory taste. "Golden Mean" wa...more
Well, after trying to decide whether or not I wanted to read this book, I finally took the plunge after a bookstore owner highly recommended it. I had feared that the book - which tells of the relationship between Aristotle and Alexander (soon to be the Great) from Aristotle's point of view - might be dry and academic. That certainly was not the case. In very contemporary, muscular (there really isn't another word for it) prose, Annabel Lyon gives us a fascinating fictionalization of Alexander's...more
A chronicle of Aristotle's seven years as Alexander of Macedonis's tutor. The wild and warlike world of Macedon was not one Aristotle appreciated, even though he grew up there. He was more at home with the philosophers and debaters in Athens, although even there he kept his distance. When the opportunity presented, he couldn't pass up the chance to teach the young Alexander and ended up in the court at Macedonia.

What struck me the most about the story is how similar Aristotle and Alexander were....more
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon is terrific. I'll start with that and recommend that you go out and buy it.

This is a novel about Aristotle before he became Aristotle. He isn't a young man when the book begins. He is 37 years old and is inspecting his wife's vulva and vagina out of intellectual curiosity. His curiosity is great and he covets knowledge of all things.

The story follows his experiences for the next 7 years or so, while he is the tutor of Alexander the Great before he became the Gre...more
I just finished reading The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon, an historical novel about Aristotle torturing a young Alexander the Great. My overall impression was simply that it was a trite retelling of the same story. The dialogue at least is natural and believable, as much as anyone can suppose. It is strangely vulgar for no apparent effect. The characters curse awkwardly much like I would imagine the author to do: just to show that it can be done. In fact I would argue that among the characters in...more
Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean is an audacious novel about Aristotle's tutoring of the hot-blooded young warrior Alexander the Great in the years before he becomes king of Macedon at age twenty. Aristotle's quirky, scientific view of life unfolds in language that is startlingly contemporary, both in the sense of modern and of rooted in 4th century BC. Lyon's prose jumps with life, takes risks, defies gravity. We know we are in for a remarkable read when, early in the novel, we eavesdrop on Arist...more
Lorina Stephens
While Annabel Lyon’s much-acclaimed novel The Golden Mean, has been received well by critics, I’m afraid it fell short for this reader.

The novel deals with Aristotle’s life during his tutelage of Alexander, who would become The Great. Lyon attempts to paint a picture of Aristotle’s own struggle to find balance between depression and joy, passion and reason, and in doing so employs a considerable wealth of research into the historical characters.

However, research into the historical milieu is lac...more
Fascinating interpretation of Alexander the Great; this time from the viewpoint of the philosopher, Aristotle, his teacher, who narrates. This gave a different slant to their story, and I enjoyed hearing Aristotle's voice. The author's portrayals of both characters was unusual: Alexander the Great was presented as very intense, curious but fixated on a few range of interests, maybe not selfish exactly, but perhaps suffering from Asperger's and most certainly emotionally damaged by his overbearin...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In a short sentence, this is the story of Aristotle's experience tutoring a young Alexander the Great of Macedon. But it is, of course, much more than that. It begins with Aristotle, his wife Pythias, the young son of his cousin, Callisthenes, and all their slaves and household possessions, travelling to Pella, the capital of Macedon, to deliver a message from Hermias, ruler of a minor satrap where they've been living. As an adolescent, Aristotle lived with his family in Pella (his father was ap...more
This novel sounded exciting to me at first, because I was sure a story about such prominent and powerful historical figures would be interesting. I felt the book was less focused on history and characters, and more on some of the philosophies Aristotle promoted. The novel focuses greatly on family relationships, that of Aristotle and his own father, of Alexander and his father Philip or his mother Olympias. The relationship of tutor to student was explored, but not as much as I felt was needed....more
Another Book Blog
"I accept that the greatest happiness comes to those capable of the highest things ... That's where you and I walk away from the rest of the world. You and I can appreciate the glory of things. We walk to the very edge of things as everyone else knows and understands and experiences them, and then we walk the next step. We go places no one has ever been. That's who we are. That's who you've taught me to be." – Alexander, to Aristotle (pg. 275)

The Golden Mean is a graceful re-imagining of one of...more
Try as I might, my words cannot do justice to this fantastic novel. Set in ancient Greece, The Golden Mean gives a fictional-historical account of the life of the philosopher Aristotle and his tutelage of the young Prince Alexander of Macedon (later, Alexander the Great). Out of all of the historical novels I have read, The Golden Mean is the best proof that historical novels can be just as engaging, alive and colourful as a novel with fictional characters and settings. Here, ancient Greece is n...more
In my opinion the most famous teacher-student relationships are Aristotle and Alexander the Great and Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. They had exceptional starting material but you have to give Ari and Annie a chunk of credit for helping to get two such powerful conquerors into the world. A+ for them.

The new novel The Golden Mean written by Annabel Lyon recreates the teacher student relationship of Aristotle and Alexander. The what happens of it all is already known. In 342 BC Aristotle reluct...more
Vous connaissez Aristote ? Eh bien moi, depuis la lecture de ce livre je le connais très bien de sa naissance à sa mort ! Voilà l’avantage d’une livre historique qui nous en apprend beaucoup sur Aristote, Alexandre le Grand et Arrhidée. Je voudrais remercier très chaleureusement les éditons de la Table Ronde pour m’avoir offert ce super livre et le site internet Newsbook.

Tout d’abord, j’aimerais dire que j’ai beaucoup aimé la lecture de ce livre qui m’a permis de connaitre une personne très impo...more
Louise Graham
The Golden Mean is the first novel by Annabel Lyon is a story set in 367BC. The story starts with Philip II at war with Persia the time has come for his young son Alexander (soon to turn into Alexander the Great) to take up his inheritance of blood and obedience to the sword.

Aristotle is his teacher and he soon realises that Alexander has a lot to learn before he can attend his father battlefields, this is the lesson of the golden mean.

This is a story with a huge amount of historical fact with...more
This book is my exposure to historical fiction. I read Jack Whyte ‘The Arthurian Legend’ as a teenager, but its historical accuracy or inaccuracy is fuzzy, as is the general arc of the narrative beyond the first novel. What makes for good historical fiction? I read in the Globe and Mail that it is a genre that garners more accolades than science fiction. Evidence: Whereas Atwood’s Alias Grace won the Booker, Oryx and Crake did not. Pithily, history provides the frame, or the form, and then it is...more
I wonder who recommended this book to me? why did I buy it? thank goodness it was at a discount, but still - what a waste of money. True, I only got 40 pages into the story. Maybe there was a lot of good stuff yet to come, but I had had enough.
I actually gave up on it after only about 20 pages, but thought I should at least read the reviews on Goodreads first. Many of the reviews were actually very good. So - I hunkered down and started it again. But - it just wasn't for me.

From what I read - L...more
Feb 24, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers

This was just great. A novel about Aristotle during his years as tutor of a teenaged Alexander the Great. Annabel Lyon is yet another wonderful Canadian author.

Finishing The Life of Greece by Will Durant just two weeks prior was the best preparation for a good deep reading experience. After all, these two characters loomed large in Greek history and had far reaching effects throughout the ancient Greek world.

Durant gave his signature balanced account of political, philosophical and social life i...more
Miz Moffatt
The Golden Mean offers a sensual, frank depiction of the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, and his complex connections with the boy who would become Alexander the Great. As the novel opens, King Philip presses Aristotle into service as a teacher of the young princes of Macedon, forcing Aristotle to postpone his dreams of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens. One son, Arridaeus, possesses the intellect of a child in the aftermath of a serious illness; the other son, Alexand...more
Hilary Green
This book deals with one of the most influential teacher/pupil relationships in history and it reconstructs it very vividly.My problem with it is that I found Aristotle, as portrayed here,hard to like. He clearly suffers from bi-polar syndrome, which is obviously not a reason to dislike him, but he also comes across to me as being semi-autistic. He has difficulty in making close relationships. He loves intensely for a short while but as soon as the relationship requires intimacy - physical or em...more
File this one under 'books that are as awesome as their awesome covers.' I loved this. I think Lyon is doing something that is, if not exactly radical, certainly unusual and unexpected in a historical novel about Aristotle and Alexander the Great. This is a very domestic novel, which is not to say that it is safe, quiet, or lacking in incident--rather the opposite--but simply that its domain is personalities, not politics. We see--albeit through Aristotle's eyes--the people who go unmentioned in...more
Ultimately disappointing. Not because it's a bad book, but because it's billed as a fantastic book. I'm sure Ms. Lyons did a tremendous amount of research, but that doesn't affect the reader directly, so we have to judge what we read.
The book is good, but slightly uneven. There are sections in which we get insight into (Ms. Lyon's interpretation of) Aristotle's mind, and at first these are interesting. Likewise, nearly all of the lessons that Aristotle gives Alexander, but that's about it. The r...more
Feb 12, 2013 Jessica added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: the millions
Incredibly well-written. Through each small action, thought or discussion I felt like I got a real deep knowledge of the characters. It made me think about that time in history in a different way. Aristotle, even as our hero and narrator, is kind of disturbing, but there's an interesting tension for the reader because he doesn't think he's being awful (but the thousands of years that have passed put things in a different light for the reader). The book made me think about the "gay" relationships...more
Robert Hill
I thought this book was good. It must have taken an enormous amount of time to research. The story of the novel is about the seven years Aristotle spends tutoring the sons of Phillip II of Macedonia. The eldest son being Alexander, later to become Alexander the Great. It has interesting descriptions of life in the fourth century BC. The interactions between the major characters are interesting. The novel also tells the story of some of Aristotle's childhood. The title is a reference to the philo...more
A historical fiction about Aristotle … I thought it would be dry and academic. How wrong! Lyon’s language is both erudite and earthy, fully fleshing out those Greek times (including our modern f-word to substitute for the lost counterpart in Greek). At the heart of this story is the conflict between ideas – Aristotle’s ideal – and the action/war-conquering society of the time. Aristotle is hired for the intellectual training of young Alexander the Great, and he wants to teach him the golden mean...more
I really enjoyed this novel about Aristotle and his most famous pupil, Alexander the Great. In addition to learning about the relationships of a lot of players in the ancient world, to bravely imagine these giants eating, swimming and talking is a massive task, and I thought, done quite well.

I've been in the midst of reading a lot about Ancient Greece lately, and this is the first work of modern fiction I've read about it. I truly appreciated the space fiction provides for examining the histori...more
Janne Paananen
Kirjan lähtökohtahan on erittäin mielenkiintoinen. Kertojana toimii Aristoteles, joka kuvaa omaa elämäänsä sekä nuoren oppilaansa Aleksanteri Suuren opettamista. Tarina ei kuitenkaan lähde täysin lentoon missään vaiheessa. Kirjan parhaita hetkiä ovatkin Arrhidaioksen eli Aleksanterin kehitysvammaisen isoveljen ja Aristoteleen väliset kohtaamiset. Jäin kaipaamaan lisää syvyyttä tarinaan, ehkä jopa enemmän historiallisten tapahtumien kulkua ja kuvausta.
Julie H. Ferguson
This debut novel by Annabel Lyon about Aristotle's experiences as he mentored the teenage Alexander the Great is stunning. It has been short-listed for the Giller, the Governor General's award for fiction (Canada), and the Rogers' Writing Trust award.

All I can say is, "Read it!!" Every word counts. Lyon uses modern day language, and it works. She gets right into Aristotle's mind. Wow!!!

I hope it wins at least one of the majors...
Jean Barrington
This book was very well written, well edited, and with the exception of trying to pronounce the names a joy to read - except, I just didn't like it much. It seems to me even novels should have a point and I just never found it in this one. I kept looking for "the golden mean," but never found it. About three quarters through the book I thought both Alexander and I found it, but it soon seemed to slip away from both of us.
My favorite character in the book was Herpyllis, Pythias's maid and Aristo...more
So good -- well-researched, convincing, and the writing is stellar. I've been looking everywhere for Lyon's other books, but haven't been able to find them at the library or local bookstores (maybe because she's Canadian). She takes two potentially unlikeable main characters and makes them sympathetic and real.
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Annabel Lyon was born in 1971. Her first book of fiction, the short story collection Oxygen (Porcupine's Quill, 2000), was published to wide acclaim, and was nominated for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit awards.

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including Toronto Life, The Journey Prize Anthology, and Write Turns: New Directions in Canadian Fiction. Lyon is also a frequent contri...more
More about Annabel Lyon...
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“You who understand what a human mind can be, how can you bear it? I don't have the hundredth part of your mind and there are days when I think I'll go mad. I can feel it. Or hear it. It's more like hearing something creeping along the walls, just behind my head, getting closer and closer. A big insect, maybe a scorpion. A dry skittering, that's what madness sounds like to me.” 0 likes
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