House of Names: A Novel

Editorial reviews

House of Names: A Novel

Toibin’s House of Names departs from myth in many magnificent ways, but it isn’t true to them, or truly to the moment in which it emerges.

Tóibín is of course free to re-create ancient figures in our own image. Who would want to say such an artistic appropriation, especially one done so well, is off limits? So let’s instead acknowledge Tóibín’s brilliant version of this story — and then go back to the weird brilliance of the original.

Tóibín’s gift in this novel is that he keeps it classic.... House of Names is bloody and terrifying, gripping and satisfying in that way you really want from a story about revenge.

The House of Names works because of the empathy and depth Tóibín brings to these suffering, tragically fallible characters, all destined to pass on "into the abiding shadows" — yet vividly alive in this gripping novel.

This reboot of an ancient story is alternately fiery and plodding, but Tóibín plainly grasps the reasons for its timelessness.