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My review of Annabel Lyon’s novel The Golden Mean is published today in the November issue of Open Letters Monthly.

“You’re better when you have someone new to love,” Aristotle is told near the end of Annabel Lyon’s extraordinary first novel The Golden Mean. Lyon’s Aristotle finds his theory of the “golden mean” through his own experience with “black bile”—what we would call bipolar disorder. “Black bile can be hot or cold,” his father taught him; “Cold: it makes you sluggish and stupid. Hot: it makes you brilliant, insatiable, frenzied.” His nephew Callisthenes hypothesizes near the end of the novel that it’s love, new love, that treats this affliction. Love for Callisthenes himself, once, when he first took him on as an apprentice; then for Pythias, his wife; later for Alexander, Prince of Macedonia, whose tutor he becomes; now for Herpyllis, the woman he loves after his wife’s death. And looming over all these is his love for Plato, when Aristotle was a student at the Academy in Athens. (Read more here.)