While reading this novel, I was taken aback at how little I knew about Aristotle's early life. Annabel Lyon fills in this gap by fleshing out the few facts we have, showing his childhood and education in flashbacks, including his first meeting with Phillip (later to become king of Macedon). This past friendship explains why Phillip sends for Aristotle - at the time a struggling philosopher eager to return to Athens and Plato's Academy - to tutor Phillip's son Alexander. For the first time, I really got a sense of Aristotle as a human being and not just an immense intellect driven by ambitions, resentments, and sometimes contradictory impulses.
Lyon gives The Golden Mean a sense of immediacy by using contemporary style and language. Except for certain ceremonial occasions, the characters speak in informal, present-day English. In fact, the language can get rather explicit at ...
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