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Tell the Wolves I'm Homeby Carol Rifka Brunt
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In Brunt's sentimental debut novel, 15-year-old June must come to terms with the death of her beloved uncle Finn, an artist, from AIDS in 1980s New York. As she struggles with his death and her own grief, June secretly befriends her uncle's mysterious lover, Toby, blamed by her parents for Finn's death. What begins as a wary relationship between former rivals for Finn's affection blossoms touchingly. Though June gradually uncovers the conflicts between her mother and uncle, she faces adolescent problems as well (sibling rivalry, boys, parties). A wrenching climax finds June's family threatening to uncover her secret relationship with the ailing Toby. Though Brunt's approach to AIDS and homosexuality is bold, her novel is mostly an extended meditation on 'all the meanness that could come out of loving someone too much.' The plot is never dull, and the convincing emotional climaxes, while overwrought, are appropriate for a narrator of June's age. Though the book has young adult-novel qualities, with moral conflicts that resolve themselves too easily and characters nursing hearts of gold, there's enough ambiguity and subtlety to interest a wider audience. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A dazzling debut novel.” O Magazine
“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." The Wall Street Journal
“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.” People
“[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.” Booklist (starred review)
“A poignant debut…Brunt's first novel elegantly pictures the New York art world of the 1980s, suburban Westchester and the isolation of AIDS.” Kirkus
“[This] gut-wrenching portrayal of a 13-year-old coping with her beloved Uncle Finn’s death from AIDS more than delivers.” Daily Candy
“An uplifting debut novel about loss, love, and unlikely friendships in the midst of the 1980s AIDS epidemic …a literary pleasure read.” BookBrowse
“[A] beautiful novel of love and loss… accessible, sensitively told, and heartbreaking.” School Library Journal Blogs (Starred Review)
“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.” Library Journal
“A fresh yet nostalgic debut novel about a 1980s teen who loses a beloved uncle to AIDS but finds herself by befriending his grieving boyfriend. Filled with lost opportunities and second chances, Tell the Wolves I'm Home delivers wisdom, innocence and originality with surprising sweetness. Its cast of waifs and strays will steal your heart as they show each other the way to redemption.” Shelf Awareness
About the Author
Carol Rifka Brunt's work has appeared in several literary journals, including North American Review and The Sun. In 2006, she was one of three fiction writers who received the New Writing Ventures award and, in 2007, she received a generous Arts Council grant to write Tell the Wolves I’m Home, her first novel. Originally from New York, she currently lives in England with her husband and three children.
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