BOOK REVIEW: HOUSE OF NAMES, BY COLM TÓIBÍN (2017)

Strange Bookfellows

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 11.16.55Colm Tóibín knows how to tell a story. I read House of Names in a fever of sorts, in less than 48 hours, barely able to unglue my eyes from my ereader. It’s the sort of book where you think you’ll just read 10 pages before bed and end up reading 50, and while you’re reading you forget to breath, and find yourself gasping for air when the book is shut.

House of Names is a re-telling of one of the foundational stories of Greek mythology. Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces in the war against Troy, sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia in order to secure a safe journey for his ships. In revenge, his wife, Clytemnestra, slits his throat almost as soon as he gets back from the war. Years later, with his sister Electra acting as an accomplice, their son Orestes avenges his father by killing his mother. In Tóibín’s version…

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