Colm Tóibín's House of Names is Hay Festival's August Book of the Month.
First published in 2017, House of Names retells the classic Greek tales of the house of Atreus, the stories of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, their son Orestes and daughters Iphigenia and Electra.
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.