House of Names

Colm Toibin
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Mar 23, 2018

In a word -- Wow! Clytemnestra opens the downloadable audiobook House of Names with: "I have been acquainted with the smell of death. The sickly, sugary smell that wafted in the wind towards the rooms in this palace." I was immediately drawn into Clytemnestra's narrative. Based on the ancient Greek tale of the House of Atreus as outlined by the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Colm Toibin's re-imagining does not disappoint. The tension is held throughout the entire story by the three narrators: Juliet Stevenson as Clytemnestra; Charlie Anson, as her son Orestes; and Pippa Nixon, as her daughter Electra. All three make the story come alive and it feels like a play and not an audiobook. 

This novel is ultimately a family story of betrayal, revenge, and loss. What provokes a family member to move from his or her center to commit an unspeakable act? What are the ripple effects? Can there be resolution? Toibin is a master storyteller. Often thought of as an Irish writer, Toibin is one of the most eclectic writers of our times. From Brooklyn, to Nora Webster, to The Master, to the stunning Testament of Mary Toibin never fails to provoke deep thought by his soulful storytelling. He excels with House of Names as well. If you want to delve deeper, checkout the readers guide from the publisher.




Reviewed by Cheryl M.
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