Where There Are No Gods
Colm Tóibín and Linn Ullmann
Irish Colm Tóibín is one of English literature’s most distinguished writers, celebrated with awards such as the Booker Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
In his most recent novel, The House of Names, Tóibín turns, as in earlier books, to the ancient myths for his material. We meet the Greek army commander Agamemnon, familiar from the tragedy by Euripides. The opening scene colors the text blood red: Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, tells of how Agamemnon has their daughter killed as sacrifice to the gods, in order for the Greek to win a decisive victory in their war against Troy.
As with the novel Testament of Mary (2012), in which the mother of Jesus tells the traumatic story of seeing her son executed, there are no gods present in House of Names. The humans have their own motives for the violence they carry out on their fellow human beings. And both novels contain powerful and many faceted mother’s portraits.
There are also powerful female portraits in his critically acclaimed novel Brooklyn, which has been turned into a movie, and which was listed among the best movies from 2015.
At the House of Literature, Colm Tóibín will meet Linn Ullmann in conversation.