The Sweet Girl

A bold and captivating new novel of ancient Greece, from the celebrated, award-winning author of The Golden Mean.

Pythias is her father’s daughter, with eyes his exact shade of unlovely, intelligent grey. A slave to his own curiosity and intellect, Aristotle has never been able to resist wit in another–even in a girl child who should be content with the kitchen, the loom and a life dictated by the womb. And oh his little Pytho is smart, able to best his own students in debate and match wits with a roomful of Athenian philosophers. Is she a freak or a harbinger of what women can really be? Pythias must suffer that argument, but she is also (mostly) secure in her father’s regard.

But then Alexander dies a thousand miles from Athens, and sentiment turns against anyone associated with him, most especially his famous Macedonian-born teacher. Aristotle and his family are forced to flee to Chalcis, a garrison town. Ailing, mourning and broken in spirit, Aristotle soon dies. And his orphaned daughter, only 16, finds out that the world is a place of superstition, not logic, and that a girl can be played upon by gods and goddesses, as much as by grown men and women. To safely journey to a place in which she can be everything she truly is, Aristotle’s daughter will need every ounce of wit she possesses, but also grace and the capacity to love.

Reviews

LONGLIST 2012 – SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

“The Sweet Girl is a remarkable novel, not just a pleasure to read but also a book that I expect to reread several times.”
—Jeet Heer, The National Post

“The intimate and the infinite are tangled together in this incandescent book, lit by Aristotle’s bright spark of a daughter. Lucid even in nightmare, The Sweet Girl slips sideways around the philosopher to examine the lives of girls and women when we were not yet human.”
—Marina Endicott, author of The Little Shadows and Good to a Fault
 
“Annabel Lyon is a wonderful writer, adept at breathing life into the ancient past. She reanimates near-mythical characters until we feel we know them intimately—their dreams and desires, their brilliance and their failings—which is an achievement only the finest historical novelists can aspire to. I loved The Golden Mean, and to return to the world of Aristotle and Alexander in The Sweet Girl is a rare pleasure.”
—Jane Johnson, author of The Tenth Gift, The Salt Road and The Sultan’s Wife