House of Names

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Colm Toibin is a master of illuminating human lives. In House of Names, he reworks the myth of Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Orestes and Electra into a novel about a twisted family haunted by rage, murder and vengeance.

The novel follows the basic plot of the Greek myth: Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia, so that the winds changed and his armies could sail to Troy. Clytemnestra, Iphigenia’s mother, swore vengeance and killed her husband. In turn her son, Orestes, killed his own mother. Tobin uses the frame of this myth to fill in the characters, giving them interiority and searching for answers to the compelling question: what makes families brutally destroy themselves.

Clytemnestra’s first-person account of her daughter’s murder and her vengeance opens the book. The book then follows Orestes in the third-person with brief first-person interjections from Clytemnestra and Electra, Orestes’ sister.

Witnessing Orestes in the third-person makes him inscrutable. He moves like a pawn on the chessboard, never sure which side he is on or who is moving him. This complicates the myth: Orestes is no longer vengeful, but uncertain and weak, even when stabbing his mother.

Under Toibin’s touch, the Greek myth loses some of its mystery and resonance. However, this is a novel: it deals not with myths but with humans, and here Toibin excels.

Author:
Colm Tóibín
Page Count:
288 pages
At A Tulsa Library:
Publisher:
Scribner
Publish Date:
2017-May-09
ISBN:
9781501140211
Amazon:
Issue:
August 2017
Category:
Fiction
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Additional information

Book Author

Colm Tóibín

Publisher

Scribner

Issue

August 2017

ASIN

1501140213

ISBN

9781501140211

Kindle ASIN

B01HMXRXSO

Page Count

288 pages

Check This Out At A Tulsa Library

https://tccl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/3537646063

Publication Date

2017-May-09

“House of Names”

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