House of Names

A Novel

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
A powerful retelling of a classic Greek tragedy, a breathtaking story of a family at war with itself reimagined by one of the world's greatest living storytellers.

"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 finds 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, Clytemnestra, 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 the world's finest living writers.

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They cut her hair before they dragged her to the place of sacrifice. My daughter had her hands tied behind her back, the skin on the wrists raw with the ropes, and her ankles bound. Her mouth was gagged to stop her cursing her father, her cowardly, two-tongued father. Nonetheless, her muffled screams were heard when she...
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PRAISE FOR

Praise for Nora Webster:
 • "A subtle, pitch-perfect sonata of a novel. . . . A novel of mourning, healing and awakening; its plainspoken eloquence never succumbs to the sentimentality its heroine would reject." --Kirkus Review (starred)
 • "[I]t is precisely Tóibín's radical restraint that elevates what might have been a familiar tale of grief and survival into a realm of heightened inquiry. The result is a luminous, elliptical novel in which everyday life manages, in moments, to approach the mystical." --Jennifer Egan, New York Times
 • "There are few fiction writers whose words reach out to us from the very first sentences of a book, compelling our assent and our delight. . . . [R]are and tremendous." --Tessa Hadley, The Guardian