1 of 2
2 of 2
There has been a lot of chatter lately about the banning of Annabel Lyon's latest novel The Golden Mean from the bookstores aboard the BC Ferries on account of its sporting a young Alexander the Great in the buff. He is modestly face down and on horseback, so there's nothing showing but a wee bum, but BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall still claims "parents of young people might not think it's appropriate for young children to view."
I chatted with Ms. Lyon a few months back at one of her book signings and she seemed pretty chill about the whole situation, or maybe just tired from dealing with such a prudish reaction. The book has been on (most) Canadian shelves since last August, long enough to be nominated for the Governor-General's Literary Award for Fiction (and a ton of others), shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and awarded the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
The book will be coming out in the States on September 7th with a cover that focusses on Alexander the Great as the great warrior he would become rather than the less-often told tale of his coming of age which Lyon crafts in moving detail. The upcoming American cover doesn't suit the story itself nearly as well as our moody Canadian version does. The novel depicts real-life Aristotle as reflective to the point of self-absorption and, in truth, kind of a mopey guy not fond of war or galloping horses at all. I have the impression that as Alexander's tutor, Lyon's Aristotle would have preferred to preserve some part of the burdened yet still innocent youth of the Alexander depicted on the banned cover even if it meant he could never ride BC Ferries again.
I carried the novel around with me the whole time I was reading it and didn't get any odd reactions from the cover. (And I do have five nieces and nephews under the age of ten.) However, everyone I've mentioned it to thinks the ban itself is hilarious. They are in good company:
... among others.