Reading guide for The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Golden Mean

by Annabel Lyon

The Golden Mean
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2010, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. What do you believe is the significance of Pythias' note to Aristotle their first night in Pella, "warm, dry" (p. 12)? What does it reveal about Pythias' nature and her relationship with Aristotle?


  2. At their first meeting, Alexander accuses Aristotle of using Arrhidaeus as another "laurel leaf," as proof that Aristotle is a great teacher. Is there truth in Alexander's words? What do you believe are the motives behind Aristotle's interest in Alexander's brother?


  3. How do Aristotle's relationships with the two brothers and their father, Philip, influence one another? How do they rank in Aristotle's affections?


  4. Although they enjoy a relationship of love and respect, Alexander and Aristotle maintain their roles of ruler and subject. In one instance, however, Alexander breaks the rules that govern that relationship to visit Aristotle and Pythias at their home, even staying the night. What accounts for his visit? What might motivate his keen interest in Pythias?


  5. Aristotle describes Alexander's relationship with Olympias, his mother, as having a "grotesque intimacy." Why do you believe Aristotle would characterize their relationship in this way? How might he describe Alexander's relationship with his father? How do Alexander's relationships with his parents influence him?


  6. Contrast Aristotle's relationships with Pythias and Herpyllis and the ways in which he recounts those relationships. In what ways, if any, do these relationships contribute to Aristotle's life as a teacher, philosopher, husband and father?


  7. What is the "golden mean"? In what ways does Aristotle embody that idea? In what ways is he a contradiction?


  8. Aristotle's cool, rational, and almost unfeeling character contrasts sharply with Alexander's passionate one. To temper his student, and to lead Alexander to the happiness that seems to elude him, Aristotle works to convince Alexander of the idea of the "golden mean." Alexander rejects the idea and accuses Aristotle of prizing mediocrity. In the end, who do you believe wins the argument, student or teacher?


  9. Describe the effects of the battlefield on a young Alexander, what is referred to as "soldier's heart." What do you believe accounts for Alexander's propensity to suffer from it?


  10. What are your impressions of Lyon's choice for her characters to use the vernacular, specifically contemporary profanity? Discuss what might have motivated that decision and why.


  11. A review of The Golden Mean enthused that, "in Lyon's clever hands, more than two thousand years of difference are made to disappear and Aristotle feels as real and accessible as the man next door." Do you agree? Why or why not?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Vintage. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  The Legacy of Alexander the Great

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...
  • Book Jacket: Dinner with Edward
    Dinner with Edward
    by Isabel Vincent
    In late 2009 Isabel Vincent and her family were still newcomers to New York City. She and her ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Since She Went Away
    by David Bell

    A chilling novel of guilt, regret, and a past which refuses to die...

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!