Think Differently                  

The Last of the Wine





by Mary Renault, 389 pages

   Alexias, the narrator in the novel, is a noble Athenian youth, who becomes a noted beauty in the city and a champion runner. Young male Athenians of antiquity were wooed by older men seeking to be their lovers; in a memorable passage, the author points out that Alexias' father, Myron, himself a former beauty and champion athlete, writes his son before leaving Athens for the Sicilian Expedition. The father imparts to the son the traits he should seek in a lover – qualities like honor, loyalty and courage. However, the father also warns the son not to become involved with women - he is much too young. The teenager Alexias eventually falls in love with Lysis, a man in his 20's, who is a champion pankratiast and a student of Socrates. The core of the novel is the relationship between the two, following their life together in sport, peace and war.


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