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House of Names

by Colm Toibin

House of Names by Colm Toibin X
House of Names by Colm Toibin
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  • First Published:
    May 2017, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Mar 2018, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

A Chilling and Dramatic Page-Turner
If you think Greek mythology is boring, dull and ancient, think again. "House of Names" by Colm Tóibín is an exciting, thrilling and imaginative retelling of the story of Clytemnestra's murder of her husband, Agamemnon, after he brutally sacrificed their 16-year-old daughter, Iphigenia, in a bid to entice the gods to assist them in their war against the Trojans. And then their son, Orestes, and second daughter, Electra exact their own vengeance for the murders.

In Tóibín's hands, this tale is a chilling and dramatic page-turner filled with the most basic of human emotions--violence, sex, lust, treachery and rage. It is a gripping ancient story retold in modern English--expanded with a bit of poetic license--and you won't be able to put it down!

Aside to Mr. Tóibín: Please do this again with other tales from Greek mythology!
Power Reviewer
Sandi W.

Greek Tragedy
I tell you this man can take a muddy puddle and make you think it is a fresh spring shower!!
I thought I was done with mythology back in college. I had two literature classes devoted to mythology and thought I had read and reviewed it all. However, with all the authors coming out with up to date revised books on the Bard and mythology I am thoroughly enjoying the stories.
This is not only one of my favorite authors, but it is his rendition of a Greek tragedy. Toibin's writing literally just takes me away.
This is the story of King Agamemnon and his betrayal of his family, as he focuses on the coming war. The death of one daughter, the loss of his son and then the revenge of his wife takes place. His wife having taken in an enemy of the kingdom, to help her plot her revenge, gets her remaining daughter to lie for her and in the name of protection, exiles her son at the hand of her accompanying accomplice. Years go by before the son finds his way home, but not until after the death of his father. The two remaining children must then put the kingdom back to it rights - however they can.
Written beautifully, Toibin carries you through the times and customs of this Greek tragedy as if you were reading a current day novel.
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