I did not anticipate that Aristotle would be a sympathetic character. I did not think I would enjoy a historical fiction set when Alexander the Great is a child. I did not think this writer from Vancouver would handle Ancient Greece in such startling, human detail. But she does, I did, he is! Lyon’s The Golden Mean is honest. Aristotle tells little Alexander to fuck himself. Slaves are bought and then returned. And Aristotle–as he defines tragedy, as he conducts his first human dissections, as he discovers the female orgasm–is marred by depression. He weeps for no reason! And Alexander is actually affected by the grizzly war he is forced to captain at age 16. He has symptoms of post-tramatic stress! Annabel Lyon challenges the notion of perfection here; there is no Golden Mean. As if to prove it, she takes a great risk by telling this story from Aristotle’s crisp-thinking, emotionally cloudy point of view, and it pays off. These characters felt real in the hands of such a competent scholar/writer.