First Lines Friday

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.

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House of Names by Colm Tóibín

House of Names

(Caidyn)

4.5/5

I said this in a First Lines Friday a while ago, but this author is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Now that I’ve read three of his books, I really think he’s a fantastic author.

But this book is very different than what I’ve read of his thus far. It takes place in Ancient Greece, piggybacking off of a myth that many are familiar with. The Illiad showed the murder/sacrifice of Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, to start the wind. It recounts that story from the perspective of her mother, Clytemnestra, along with her siblings, Electra and Orestes.

What I found most amazing about this story was how it seamlessly told the aftermath (also recounted in mythology) of this death, and Toibin did so through those three very different perspectives. The mourning mother who wants nothing but revenge. The confused brother who was too young to understand. The sister who was left behind and only heard rumors, left to make her mind up about what happened.

More than that, it shows how we can all be haunted by the past, the echoes of other people running up and down the halls, full of things you wish you hadn’t done to them. I found it beautiful, despite it being full of murder and death sparked by a father’s decision and a mother’s choice following it.