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Books

Book Review

‘The Sweet Girl’ by Annabel Lyon

Years ago when I learned that Greek statues and monuments were originally painted — in garish colors — my mental image of the ancient world underwent a dramatic shift. I was similarly jolted encountering the earthy, contemporary language and coarse goings-on in Annabel Lyon’s new historical novel, “The Sweet Girl,” about Aristotle’s headstrong, intelligent daughter, Pythias.

Lyon uses Greek names for her characters and scatters a few Greek words throughout — kithara (a musical instrument), iunx (a spell), hetairai (upper-class prostitutes) — but the novel abounds with jarring modern colloquialisms. Lyon’s Greece, as in “The Golden Mean” about Aristotle’s relationship with Alexander the Great, features braziers and bronzes (used as mirrors), couches and scrolls and oil lamps, but also books and beds.

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