In this striking literary debut, Carol Rifka Brunt unfolds a moving story of love, grief, and renewal as two lonely people become the unlikeliest of friends and find that sometimes you don't know you've lost someone until you've found them.
1987. There's only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that's her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn's company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June's world is turned upside down. But Finn's death brings a surprise acquaintance into June's life - someone who will help her to heal, and to question what she thinks she knows about Finn, her family, and even her own heart.
At Finn's funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn's apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she's not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he just might be the one she needs the most.
An emotionally charged coming-of-age novel, Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a literary pleasure read. The crisp, short chapters and slightly funky (and therefore realistic) characters had me turning pages fast and late. Rifka Brunt's story treats a potentially morbid central topic with a surprisingly light touch. The AIDS-related death of a homosexual family member in Rifka Brunt's hands becomes the inciting incident of a whimsical, unconventional love story. She weaves teenage awkwardness, 1980s AIDS paranoia and domestic drama into an inexplicably happy narrative. (Reviewed by Stacey Brownlie).
In this lovely debut novel set in the 1980s, Carol Rifka Brunt takes us under the skin and inside the tumultuous heart of June Elbus… Distracted parents, tussling adolescents, the awful ghost-world of the AIDS-afflicted before AZT - all of it springs to life in Brunt's touching and ultimately hopeful book.
Brunt's debut novel is both a painful reminder of the ill-informed responses to a once little-known disease and a delightful romp through an earlier decade. The relationship issues with parents and siblings should appeal to YA audiences, but adult readers will enjoy the suspenseful plot and quirky characters.
In [Tell the Wolves I'm Home], 15-year-old June must come to terms with the death of her beloved uncle Finn, an artist, from AIDS in 1980s New York… What begins as a wary relationship between former rivals for Finn's affection blossoms touchingly.
Starred Review. [A] transcendent debut… Peopled by characters who will live in readers' imaginations long after the final page is turned, Brunt's novel is a beautifully bittersweet mix of heartbreak and hope.
Wall Street Journal
Tremendously moving… Brunt strikes a difficult balance, imbuing June with the disarming candor of a child and the melancholy wisdom of a heart-scarred adult.
There is much to admire in this novel. The subtle
insight on sibling rivalry and the examination of love make for a poignant debut.
Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a tale as charming and magnetic as the missing character at its heart. It's a love story of the most unusual kind - several love stories, really - vivid and madly relatable, heartening as well as heartbreaking. Brunt is a captivating storyteller and a wonderful new voice.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Diane S. Tell the Wolves I'm Home June is such a wonderful character, a 14 yr. old trying to find her way and secure in the knowledge that she is loved by her Uncle Finn who dies of aids. This is a thought-provoking book about the complicated relationships in a family and how... Read More
The characters in Tell the Wolves I'm Home visit numerous locations in New York City and Westchester County, New York, and the accuracy of Rifka Brunt's descriptions adds a rich flavor to the story. If you're the type of person who likes to travel to literary-inspired destinations, you might consider these three stops:
The Cloisters: June's favorite place to visit with Finn was The Cloisters, located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan. These gardens and museum, which opened to the public in 1938, are a part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and feature the various architectural, artistic and stylistic designs of medieval Europe. The abbey, constructed using materials from five French medieval cloisters (Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Froville) houses over 3,000...
A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann's first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s.
"Rarely has an author succeeded so splendidly at making real the inexplicable event (here a life-threatening childbirth) while also reminding us of the struggle between sisters, the enchantment of love, and the kindness of others. Do not miss this novel!"
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