Toíbín who? you might ask – as far as I can see he has not yet gathered the attention he definitely deserves. Perhaps his novel “House of Names” can change that. What’s it about?
Nearly all the figures and a great part of the plot is taken from Greek mythology. There is a stalemate before Troy. Agamemnon’s fleet stucks and the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia is meant to bring favourable winds. His wife Clytemnestra can’t prevent the murder of her daughter and thinks of revenge. That brings Aegisthus on the stage. To prevent the youngest of this very special family, Orestes, from interfering in this revenge plot he his abducted together with some other young men from powerful families.
It’s absolutely thrilling how Toíbín tells how Orestes and his friend Leander try to escape and come back to their home town. Toíbín uses an unadorned prose where you can’t eliminate a single word. Nevertheless, every very detail of his account is very clear and imaginative. In most parts this novel is a real pageturner, you can’t put it down. All in all: 260 pages of fine literary art with much suspense.
Colm Tóibín, House of Names, Penguin / Random House, ~ 9 € / £
No, you won’t see them in the O2 arena. They definitely prefer smaller places to perform like clubs or pubs. I’m talking about Lankum the amazing band from Dublin consisting of singer Radie Peat, Ian Lynch, Daragh Lynch (both are brothers) and Cormac MacDiarmada. They master a variety of instruments and are – well – a kind of folk band with many influences from other genres. The Guardian wrote they were the ˮperfect house-band for a Coen brothers’ folk-horror movieˮ.
Glendalough is famous for the remains of its mediaval monastery from the 6th century – a time when people in the later Germany lived a very restrained and more or less primitive life. But other things in Glendalough are worth registering as well.
If you are hungry I recommend The Wicklow Heather Lodge. You get there really fine and tasty food, a gentle and attentive host* and – as a intellectual dessert – The writer’s room. There you find first editions of Beckett, Joyce and many others like Patrick Kavanagh the man who wrote Raglan Road and many poems and a lot of prose as well. For us it was a overwhelming atmosphere – a place where we want to be again.
If you want to eat there making reservations is a must. Enjoy the lovely food and the very special place.
*If you are lucky she will explain the treasures of her restaurant.