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Colm Tóibín new novel reimagines of the story of the house of Atreus—but dwells in a place of its own

Tóibín beautifully combines the restrained elegance of a Greek vase-painting with an all-too-human pathos

By Jane Shilling   August 2017

House of Names by Colm Tóibín (Penguin, £14.99)

At the royal palace in Mycenae a great feast has been prepared for King Agamemnon and his warriors, returning victorious from the Trojan war. But the victory has been bought at a terrible price. As the celebrations begin, two bodies are placed on the palace steps, naked and bloody. They are those of Agamemnon himself and his captive, the beautiful seer Cassandra, murdered by Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, in revenge for the king’s sacrifice of his own daughter, Iphigenia. Summoned by…

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