The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon

This Giller Prize finalist was almost the opposite of The Winter Vault – compelling plot but the prose was nothing special. Still, while the plot did keep me reading, it didn’t lead me anywhere special – only to the end of the book. If I didn’t know that Aristotle was a genius and Alexander was great, I wouldn’t have figured it out from this story.

I definitely agree that domestic excellence does wonders for depression.



Aristotle is forced to postpone his dream of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens when Philip of Macedon asks him to stay on in his capital city of Pella to tutor his precocious son, Alexander. At first the philosopher is appalled to be stuck in the brutal backwater of his childhood, but he is soon drawn to the boy’s intellectual potential and his capacity for surprise. What he does not know is whether his ideas are any match for the warrior culture that is Alexander’s birthright.

But he feels that teaching this startling, charming, sometimes horrifying boy is a desperate necessity. And that what the boy – thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields – needs most is to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer.