NPR

'House Of Names' Is A Violent Page-Turner, And A Surprising Departure

Colm Tóibín ventures far afield — in time and place — for this heart-stopping take on the tragedy of Clytemnestra and her family, reanimated with suffering the ancient Greeks never imagined.
House of Names by Colm Toibin Source: Emily Bogle

Colm Tóibín has ventured to ancient Argos — far from the decorous, restrained worlds of Henry James, coastal Ireland, and mid-20th century Brooklyn we've seen in his earlier books — in this heart-stopping novel based on Clytemnestra's family tragedy.

Although he's taken some of his familiar, familial preoccupations with him — including strained family dynamics — House of Names is a surprising turn for Tóibín, a violent page-turner about the mother of all dysfunctional families and the insidious ravages of revenge and distrust. He has borrowed

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min read
Notre Dame Repair Crews Are Back To Work, But Paris' Lead Concerns Remain
Environmental and labor groups complain the cleanup should have begun sooner, and they are concerned about health risks in Paris.
NPR2 min readSociety
El Salvador Woman Who Lost Her Pregnancy Is Acquitted Of Homicide In Retrial
Evelyn Beatriz Hernández was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Salvador, which has one of the strictest abortion laws in the world.
NPR2 min read
We Did It For The LOLs: 100 Favorite Funny Books
We thought you might need a laugh right about now, so this year's summer reader poll celebrates all the books (and one short story, and a few uncategorizable gems) that make you laugh out loud.