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House of Names

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'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.
Rezension
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
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Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 272
Erscheinungsdatum 04.05.2017
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-241-26493-5
Verlag Penguin Books Ltd
Maße (L/B/H) 23,3/15,3/2,5 cm
Gewicht 362 g
Buch (Taschenbuch, Englisch)
12,99
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House of Names
von miss.mesmerized am 08.05.2017
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Having sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the gods to make the winds turn, the legendary Greek king Agamemnon returns home after the success in Troy. Yet, his wife Clytemnestra cannot forgive him and together with Aegisthus, her new lover, she plans the murder of her husband. To spare their... Having sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the gods to make the winds turn, the legendary Greek king Agamemnon returns home after the success in Troy. Yet, his wife Clytemnestra cannot forgive him and together with Aegisthus, her new lover, she plans the murder of her husband. To spare their son Orestes this tragedy, she has him abducted to a faraway place where he will spend the next years and only come back as an adult. On his return, Orestes find the palace dramatically changed. His sister Electra is his only confidant and she convinces him that revenge for the mother’s plot is necessary. Colm Tóibín has chosen characters of classic Greek mythology for his latest novel. Even though most of their stories are well known since they have been told by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides 2500 years ago and repeatedly been presented on stages all over the world, they have not lost any of their power and relevance. Yet, “House of Names” is not just a repetition of the old story, Colm Tóibín freely adapted the plots and character traits to thus create a new version which is absolutely convincing and entertaining. What I liked most was having the different characters tell their own stories from their point of view. Thus, chronology is broken up, but we get a much deeper idea of the protagonists and their motives. First of all, Clytemnestra. Her being lured by murder to revenge her daughter and the hatred she feels for Agamemnon is quite impressive. She is a strong woman who can assert herself – but, on the other hand, it is her lover who manipulates her to get into power himself. When it comes to her guilt, especially in front of her son, her outer appearance collapses and suddenly, she is haunted and cannot leave planet earth even after death. She is trapped. Electra is her actual opponent. It is the daughter’s scheme that finally kills the mother, in their cold-bloodedness, both women are equal. They only differ in the question of the gods’ accountability for what happens on earth. Orestes is the tragic hero. He wants peace more than anything else, but is tempted into his family’s and friends’ conspiracies under false pretence and thus commits crimes unintentionally. Too weak to force his inherent right to the throne, he has to stand on the side-line when other shape the state. As said before, the ancient stories have lost nothing of their significance over the time. Most of the seven deadly sins can be found in the story: e.g. Aegisthus’ lust, Electra’s wrath, or Clytemnestra’s pride. Orestes shows some virtues to oppose the negativity: he is kind, especially towards Ianthe, patient when he listens to the elders and in is exile, chaste and generally temperate in his emotions. Good and evil fight over predominance in the world – that’s what we can see in the news every day. Even though the main conflict is an old story, you can easily detect how modern the characters are and this renders the novel relevant also today. Thus, a very successful transformation into our time.


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