Colm Tóibín, “House Of Names” | Politics and Prose
Tóibín brought Henry James to life in The Master and made Mary, Christ’s mother, a fresh and surprisingly rebellious woman in The Testament of Mary. In his new novel the award-winning Irish fiction writer, essayist, and biographer, lets Clytemnestra, the wife and murderer of Mycenae’s King Agamemnon, have her say. Nearly as reviled as her sister Helen—famously the “cause” of the Trojan war—Clytemnestra killed her husband out of grief and anger over his sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, to the gods. She then ruled his kingdom for seven years until her son, Orestes, avenged his father’s murder by executing his mother. In this passionate, dramatic retelling of the classical myth, Tóibín presents Clytemnestra as a strong and strong-willed leader, not afraid to follow her heart, however harshly she might be judged.
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