O's Top 20 Books to Read This Summer
The must-reads that'll take you straight through to Labor Day.
8 of 20
House of Names
For his latest book, the Brooklyn author looked to an ancient myth to illuminate a familiar maxim: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. In this mesmerizing retelling of Aeschylus's Oresteia and other Greek tales, the gods Zeus, Hera, and Athena are nowhere to be found—humans are on their own, making a mess of things. Tóibín peels and cores the psyches of the vengeful Clytemnestra and her grief-dazed son and daughter, Orestes and Electra, to examine what lay behind their heinous acts. The novel balances the restraint of neoclassical art with the frenzy of a Pollock painting, moving from Clytemnestra's cool, murderous resolve to Orestes's exile in the woods. Wrath, seduction, betrayal—they're all here, making the compelling case that when it comes to dysfunctional families, the Greeks were there first.