Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Praise from Hilary Mantel

"This quietly ambitious and beautifully achieved novel is one of the most convincing historical novels I have ever read. Lyon makes her reader avid for every detail of this strange world, whether domestic or medical or military, and she has steeped herself in the thinking of the time. She makes her characters entirely solid and real, while respecting their otherness, the distance between us. That is what characterised Mary Renault’s novels, and I think that she would have deeply admired this book. [Lyon’s] judgment is sound and true, and the reader trusts her voice from the first paragraph."

--Hilary Mantel, author of the Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Irani Irony

The Iranian Book News Agency has picked up the BC Ferries / The Golden Mean bare bum story. To read the full article, please click here. According to the website, "The agency's main goal is dissemination of national and international news on books and at the same time covering all other issues such as publication, edition, distribution, etc. of books." They cover more than just the issues, judging by the doctored author photo that appears alongside the article (pictured here).

The Golden Mean in South Africa

The Golden Mean / BC Ferries debate reaches South Africa, courtesy of Agence-France Presse. To read the full article in the Johannesburg Star, please click here.

Passages: BC Ferries Gift Shop

"If you're looking for something specific that isn't shown here, just get in touch with us and we'll do our best to track it down for you."

From the BC Ferries gift shop website.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No Comment

Xtra Gets It

"We need to get rid of this shame around the human body. Children are not going to be scarred by seeing a human body." NDP Arts Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert

"Censorship is always silly. It's embarrassing for BC." Jim Deva, co-owner of Little Sister's Book & Art Emporium

To read Jeremy Hainsworth's article for Xtra on the BC Ferries/bare bum furore, please click here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Viral Bums

Sorry, couldn't resist that title! It seems that London's The Guardian newspaper has picked up the "no bums on BC Ferries" story, under the headline "Alexander the Great Novel Gets Bum Rap in Canada". To read Alison Flood's article for The Guardian, please click here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Banned Book Bummer": The New Yorker Blog

"Censorship, to our way of thinking, is generally bad news. Is there ever a good reason to ban a book? Maybe not, but the cause for a recent Canadian ban on Annabel Lyon’s “The Golden Mean” strikes us as particularly silly. BC Ferries, a maritime transportation service in British Columbia, has removed Lyon’s novel from its bookshops—not because the author penned a controversial scene or racy bit of dialogue, but because the paperback’s cover art features a naked man’s rear-end!"

To read Eileen Reynolds's full blog entry for The New Yorker, please click here.

Thanks to Damian Inwood of The Province for first publicizing the story; to read his article, please click here.

aka Plato's Symposium

For more "better book titles", check out Dan Wilbur's website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Herodotus and PTSD

In The Golden Mean, I imagine Alexander suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being trained as a child soldier. Such mental trauma is as old as soldiering; witness this passage from Herodotus describing the aftermath of the Battle of Marathon:

"It happened that an amazing event took place there, when Epizelus son of Cuphagoras, an Athenian who was fighting in the battle and proving himself to be a noble and courageous warrior, was stricken with blindness, though he had not been struck or hit on any part of his body. But from this time on and for the rest of his life, he continued to be blind. I have heard that the story he told about it went something like this: he thought he saw a huge hoplite [heavily-armed foot soldier] whose beard overshadowed his entire shield and who was standing opposite him; but this phantom passed by Epizelus and killed the man standing next to him."

from The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, Robert B. Strassler, ed., translated by Andrea L. Purvis

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Financial Times Review

"The style as a whole posesses an often eerie earthiness... This is a novel that stands firmly on its own feet." To read Philip Womack's full review for the Financial Times, please click here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Edinburgh International Book Festival

I'm so pleased to be taking part in three events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival: on Tuesday, August 17 at 5:30PM I'll be reading from the work of Afghan writer Nadia Anjuman as part of the "Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series: Violence Against Women"; on Thursday, August 19 at 10:00AM I'll be reading in the "Ten at Ten" event; and later that day, at 6:45PM, I'll be doing a joint event with historical novelist SJ Parris. I'm also immensely honoured to be nominated for the inaugural Edinburgh International Book Festival Readers' First Book Award. For more information, please click here.

Tyee Interview

"Though the novel is based firmly in history, Lyon makes departures that bring Aristotle's life into focus for modern readers. Her thoughtful, flowing prose links facts and carefully constructed fiction, and brings to life the corporeal, intellectual, and intangible aspects of life in the ancient world. The result is a novel that begs to be discussed."

To read Shannon Smart's full article for The Tyee, please click here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Times Profile

"On the day that I am to interview Lyon, an e-mail slips into my inbox from none other than the Booker prizewinner Hilary Mantel. It is full of praise for The Golden Mean, calling it a “quietly ambitious and beautifully achieved novel” that is “one of the most convincing historical novels I have ever read”."

To read Jake Wallis Simons' entire article for The Times, please click here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hello Again, Sechelt!

On Saturday, August 14 at 7:00PM I'll be speaking at the Sunshine Coast Festival for the Written Arts. For more information, please click here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Word of the Day

I'm often asked about my use of profanity in The Golden Mean, especially the word "fuck". Now (say sceptics, hands on their hips, smiling doubtfully), the ancients didn't really speak that way, did they? Did they? Surely my use of that term is anachronistic at best, terminally vulgar at worst?

"Bineo" responded the ancient Greek linguistics specialist whom I consulted about the ancient use of profanity, vulgarity, and basically every word your mother didn't raise you to use, young lady, thank you very much. That's the ancient Greek equivalent of "fuck", with all its modern connotations. For those who remain sceptical, I recommend Jeffrey Henderson's The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Attic Comedy. Thorough, serious, and scholarly, this book also features one of the most eye-popping academic indices you will ever enjoy. Entries include Crepitation, sound effects for; Exhibitionism in Iambic Poetry; Horsemanship as metaphor; Nautical metaphors; Perversion; Piercing; Satyr-drama; Scatology in Sicilian comedy; Scatophagy; Urination as theme; and my personal favourite: Obscenity, scholarly neglect of.