Book Review: Colm Tóibín, House of Names

If you are in Ireland and a book lover then you’re probably familiar with Colm Tóibín. If not, do yourself a favour and buy House Of Names. This is a different kind of book from his award-winning Brooklyn or The Blackwater Lightship.

Reimagining Aeschylus’ Greek tragedy The Oresteia, the book opens with Clytemnestra shifting in time after she has carried out the murder of her husband Agamemnon. He has lured their daughter Iphigenia to his army camp promising to marriage to Achilles, but sacrifices her instead for favourable winds for his ships. Being a tragedy, Clytemnestra’s actions have serious consequences. If you’re not a fan of Greek tragedy this may sound like heavy going. It’s not. It is as beautifully written as all of Tóibín’s work with a plot line as compelling as George RR Martin’s A Song Of Ice and Fire. It’s absolutely bloody brilliant.

 

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