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3.0 out of 5 stars
The Golden Mean
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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2010
What a disappointing read! Had I borrowed the book from the library I probably would not have continued reading it after the first 50 pages. I agree with another reviewer who stated that the most interesting part was when the very young Aristotle accompanied his physician father. I honestly don't know how this "novel" got so much critical acclaim! Much of time, I felt I was reading a graphic novel without the pictures! Annabel would benefit from having a much more critical editor. If the book didn't have some of the sex scenes, it might appeal to young readers as it is written in a style of historical fiction books for older children. I came away from reading the novel without any more insight into the character of Aristotle than before. If you don't know anything about the time of Alexander and Aristotle you might enjoy this rather domestic story of two icons.
Sorry - Annabel - I really was looking forward to the read.
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on January 14, 2015
Philosophy is not an interest of mine, so I think that soured the novel for me. I just kept getting frustrated with the restrictions of the historical plot and the silliness of some of the beliefs of the ancient Greeks.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
I was very excited to read this book but while I was reading it I just wanted it to end. Not because of how good it was but because it was so boring. I was looking forward to learning about Aristotle and Alexanders relationship but I felt that it only touched lightly on that subject. I was disappointed that I spent $21.00 on this book. I don't even know what else to say.
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on May 31, 2013
... It is a puzzle to me how this "slight" novel had been so well received; it seemed, almost, a historical romance ..
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2009
This was the only book I asked for this Christmas because the idea sounded great, but the actual book is a disappointment. Aristotle is presented as an ordinary man, which he was of course in some ways, but half way through there's so little of intellectual interest in this novel that I decided to stop reading it. I didn't care what happened next, even if Alexander the Great was a focus, because everything is presented in such a mundane fashion. Lyon spends too much time on the mundane details of life in Pella to maintain my interest. Perhaps I am the wrong kind of reader because over the years I've read about Ancient Greece, and so found very little new about Greek society in this book, and up to the half way point there were only a couple of pages of Aristotle's ideas incorporated. The descriptions of his father's medical work in the first fifty pages held my attention the most. The writing is simple and direct, which is good, I guess, but I'm surprised the writing merited nominations to any awards. Had the writing been more compelling, I might have continued. I guess I just don't get this book.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2010
This book was not as good as the reviews would suggest. The story meandered through Aristotle's life and strung together stories about his relationships with women and the young Alexander. I expected more about life during this period of history but I did not get a feel for what it was like to live in ancient Greece. I think this book was hyped by the critics and did not deserve the nomination for the Govoner General's Award
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2011
I'm quite baffled as to how this novel gained such critical acclaim as it is simply not worthy. My principle complaint is that while the subject matter is appealing, it was nonetheless, very badly and shabbily written and the author, in my view, ill-equipped to take on such a task. By way of contrast, I had just read a novel by Charles Morgan entitled 'The Fountain' that was written in 1932 and was uncompromisingly beautiful. By Comparison, The Golden Mean,that immediately followed, was a huge disappointment. It does seem odd to me that with so much literary aid at our disposal these these days in terms of computers and software assistance that writing has deteriorated so much. Maybe we have all become sloppy and rely too much on technology. Any one who has read any works by the Victorian masters, Bronte sisters, Dickens, Trollope(s), Hardy, Elliot, Austen etc cannot fail to be amazed at the power over literature that these people commanded and armed only with a pen and paper; it is simply astonishing. A.S Byatt is, in my opinion, one of the only masters still living on the planet. The Latin writers, Allende, Garcia-Marquez write beautifully and their text still tingles with a mastery of the language despite translation into written English. If Canada is to receive any kind of credence in the literary world than English must be considered in a far higher regard than purely as a means of day to day communication, it is horribly spoken, badly written and appallingly taught. Margaret Laurence is the only Canadian writer for whom I have any regard though she was not native Canadian born. There is more to writing than achieving fame and commercial success; that is the key and we should be far more self critical.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2011
([...])

I stopped reading after the first sentence:

"The rain falls in black cords, lashing my animals, my men, and my wife, Pythias, who last night lay with her legs spread while I took notes on the mouth of her sex, who weeps silent tears of exhaustion now, on this tenth day of our journey."

A short review of The Golden Mean is a long review of the first sentence of the Golden Mean.
It is a run-on sentence that once missed the opportunity for a semi-colon*, and more than once missed the opportunity for a period.
The first sentence alone warrants the Literary Review nomination for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award**. And while I am conflicted on the Award itself, I agree with the use of "bad sex" in describing The Golden Mean.
The author is trying to give us too much information in the first sentence. Instead of organizing her thoughts, she vomits onto the page and expects her readers to make sense of it.

*It should be noted that by neglecting the second semi-colon, Annabel Lyon implies that it is "the mouth of her sex" that weeps silent tears, and not Pythias.

**Literary Review is a British literary magazine that is well-known for its annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award, with the expressed intention of "drawing attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel, and to discourage it".
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2010
This is one of the worst books I have ever tried to read, and I have read a lot of books
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