House of Names ~ by Colm Toibin

I’ve read 7 of the 11 novels by Toibin –  they tend to be concerned with family struggles,  particularly the ones gays or women might face.  This is not really different from that.   The difference is that this is a kind of spin on the original Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Oristes and the voices of others are included – there is more about Orestes and his journey to deal with the situation.


House of Names
Colm Toibin
2017 / 288 pages
read by Juliet Stevenson, Charlie Anson,Pippa Nixon / 8h 46m
rating –  8.5

Toibin is a wonderfully creative author and talented wordsmith.  This is certainly not my favorite kind of literature but in the hands of Toibin it comes alive.

The story of Agamemnon after the fall of Troy and according to Euripides is generally followed but there are several significant changes – additions mostly but also filling out the characters of Clytemnestra and her children.  Agamemnon is left pretty featureless.

It’s bloody and full of motives and craziness.  Orestes is a bit confused about several things including his own sexuality.

One of Toibin’s additions,  the old woman at the seashore,  is a brilliant add – it fits today’s novels – it wouldn’t have worked for the original.