House of Names

by Colm Toibin

Historical Fiction Sagas

House of Names Synopsis

'They cut her hair before they dragged her to the place of sacrifice. Her mouth was gagged to stop her cursing her father, her cowardly, two-tongued father. Nonetheless, they heard her muffled screams.'

On the day of his daughter's wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice.

His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory.

Three years later, he returns home and his murderous action has set the entire family - mother, brother, sister - on a path of intimate violence, as they enter a world of hushed commands and soundless journeys through the palace's dungeons and bedchambers. As his wife seeks his death, his daughter, Electra, is the silent observer to the family's game of innocence while his son, Orestes, is sent into bewildering, frightening exile where survival is far from certain. Out of their desolating loss, Electra and Orestes must find a way to right these wrongs of the past even if it means committing themselves to a terrible, barbarous act.

House of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal. It is a work of great beauty, and daring, from one of our finest living writers.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780241257692
Publication date: 5th April 2018
Author: Colm Toibin
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 272 pages
Collections:
Primary Genre Historical Fiction
Other Genres:

What To Read After House of Names

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A Silver Lining

Colm Toibin Press Reviews

Part of Toibin's success comes down to the power of his writing: an almost unfaultable combination of artful restraint and wonderfully observed detail . . . Unforgettable -- Mary Beard - New York Times

A giant amongst storytellers, Toibin has thrown down the gauntlet with his latest novel . . . And it is a masterpiece -- Edith Hall - Daily Telegraph

A gorgeous stylist, Toibin captures the subtle flutterings of consciousness better than any writer alive . . . Never before has Toibin demonstrated such range, not just in tone but in action. He creates the arresting, hushed scenes for which he's so well known just as effectively as he whips up murders that compete, pint for spilled pint, with those immortal Greek playwrights - Washington Post

This is a novel about the way the members of a family keep secrets from one another, tell lies and make mistakes.. . - Literary Review

In a novel describing one of the Western world's oldest legends, in which the gods are conspicuous by their absence, Toibin achieves a paradoxical richness of characterisation and a humanisation of the mythological, marking House Of Names as the superbly realised work of an author at the top of his game. - Daily Express

A spellbinding adaptation of the Clytemnestra myth, House of Names considers the Mycenaen queen in all her guises: grieving mother, seductress, ruthless leader - and victim of the ultimate betrayal. - Vogue

A haunting story, largely because Toibin tells it in spare, resonant prose... -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett - New Statesman

A Greek House of Cards... Just like Heaney at the end of his Mycenae lookout, Toibin's novel augurs an era of renewal that comes directly from the cessation of hostilities. -- Fiona Macintosh - Irish Times

The book's mastery of pacing and tone affirm the writer as one of our finest at work today. -- John Boland - Irish Independent

A daring, and triumphant return, to the Oresteia... bleakly beautiful twilight of the Gods. -- Boyd Tonkin - The Arts Desk

It couldn't have been done better - Scotsman

A visceral reworking of Oresteia - Observer

The escalation of violence and desire for revenge has deliberate echoes of the Irish Troubles - Observer Books of the Year

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780241257692
Publication date: 05/04/2018
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781508227922
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Format: Ebook

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About Colm Toibin

Colm Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy in 1955. He is the author of eight novels including Blackwater Lightship, The Master and The Testament of Mary, all three of which were nominated for the Booker Prize, with The Master also winning the IMPAC Award, and Brooklyn, which won the Costa Novel Award. He has also published two collections of stories and many works of non-fiction. His most recent novel is Nora Webster. He lives in Dublin.

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