Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Family Life


by (author) Marianne Apostolides

Book*hug Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
Family Life, Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Because fear can transform into confidence, recklessness, the kind of power you can't imagine until you're inside it. And then, once you've felt it, you can't feel alive when it's gone. Sophrosyne. You understood this feeling. I know you did, though you never said it. I saw it, instead, on your face when you danced.

Sophrosyne is one of only four virtues identified by Socrates - four traits which, if lived deeply, define who we are as human beings. But sophrosyne is a concept our culture has long forgotten. ""Self-restraint,' 'self-control,' 'modesty,' 'temperance' - none of these terms expresses the essence of the word.

In this provocative new novel about desire and restraint in a digital age by acclaimed author Marianne Apostolides, 21-year-old Alex is consumed by the elusive problem of sophrosyne for reasons he cannot share with others. While Alex's philosophy professor believes studying it will help shed light on the malaise of our era, Alex hopes it will release him from his darkly disturbing relationship with his mother. As he attempts to uncover his mother's truth, Alex is drawn inside an amorphous, indefinable undercurrent of love and violation. Only through his lover, Meiko, does Alex open into a new understanding of sophrosyne, with all its implications.

Reminiscent of Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, Sophrosyne asks readers to surrender themselves to the book's logic and language. Infused with a sensuality balanced by its intellect, Sophrosyne reads like "the music's rhythm... soft like wax and supple, warm," pulsing through your veins.

About the author

Acclaimed writer and critic Marianne Apostolides is the author of five books and one play. Her current writing explores the contact zone between genres – poetry vs. prose, fiction vs. non-fiction, creative vs. critical; it has appeared in The Walrus, Room, and Magazine, among other publications. She is the recipient of the 2012 Chalmers Arts Fellowship; her book Voluptuous Pleasure was listed among the Top 100 Books of 2012 by Toronto’s Globe & Mail, and her book The Lucky Child was long-listed for the 2010 Relit Award. Marianne lives in Toronto with her two children.

Marianne Apostolides' profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Remarkable, one of the most sensual & esoteric books I’ve ever read.” —Corey Redekop

“So the book is incredible. It is difficult and heavy and it hurts sometimes, but it’s spectacular to be a part of… You also get to watch Marianne Apostolides blow almost every other contemporary Canadian writer our of the water with her fearless approach to language, syntax and subject matter.” —Nicole Brewer for (parenthetical)

“Sophrosyne is powerful, stimulating, expressive, and introspective. I found myself reading and rereading several passages-pages, even- as I coursed through the book. I was able to lose myself while reading out loud in a crowded space, as if speaking to her characters and Marianne Apostolides herself.” —James Bonner for Nomadic Press

Other titles by