Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Title: Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Author: Carol Rifka BruntTell the Wolves I’m Home. Finished 8-22-16, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub.2012

Unabridged audio read by Amy Rubinate. 12 hours.

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.                        from Goodreads

Fourteen year old June loved her Uncle Finn and his death of AIDS had her experiencing a grief that no one could really understand until she met Toby and let him into her life. Reviled by her family, Finn’s boyfriend of nine years, draws June into his world, a very adult world, but one with shared loss. The two form an odd relationship that helps them both cope with a life without Finn.  Greta, the over-achieving older sister and once best friend, is crying out in her own way and the portrait done by her famous-in-the-art-world uncle before he died, in its secure hiding spot, became a way for the sisters to communicate without words.  June’s life will never be the same.

I really don’t want to say a whole lot more about he plot of this debut novel.  There are so many layers to the relationships that it’s best read with a fresh mind so that you can form your own opinions, and you will have them since this novel pushes more than one button. Perfect for book group discussion.

Will this end up on my favorite list at the end of the year?  I don’t know.  In some ways I didn’t even like it, but in others it will stay with me in its richness.  It’s an old one and lots of you have read it. What did you think?

10 thoughts on “Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

    • stacybuckeye says:

      I can see that 🙂 It will definitely stick with me. The last third of the book was perfection (and the rest was pretty darn good too :)). I haven’t even checked to see if she’s written other books. It’s hard to believe this was her first.

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