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Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Carol Rifka Brunt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,300 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Wall Street Journal • O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • School Library Journal
 
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.
 
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • NAMED A FAVORITE READ BY GILLIAN FLYNN • WINNER OF THE ALEX AWARD

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.

Praise for Tell the Wolves I’m Home
 
“A dazzling debut novel.”O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“This compassionate and vital novel will rivet readers until the very end. . . . The narrative is as tender and raw as an exposed nerve, pulsing with the sharpest agonies and ecstasies of the human condition.”BookPage
 
“Tremendously moving.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Transcendent . . . Peopled by characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned, Brunt’s novel is a beautifully bittersweet mixture of heartbreak and hope.”Booklist (starred review)
 

“Carol Rifka Brunt establishes herself as an emerging author to watch.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Touching and ultimately hopeful.”People

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt has made a singular portrait of the late-'80s AIDS epidemic's transformation of a girl and her family. But beyond that, she tells a universal story of how love chooses us, and how flashes of our beloved live through us even after they're gone. Before her Uncle Finn died of an illness people don't want to talk about, 14-year-old June Elbus thought she was the center of his world. A famous and reclusive painter, Finn made her feel uniquely understood, privy to secret knowledge like how to really hear Mozart's Requiem or see the shape of negative space. When he's gone, June discovers he had a bigger secret: his longtime partner, Toby, the only other person who misses him as much as she does. Her clandestine friendship with Toby--whom her parents blame for Finn's illness--sharpens tensions with her sister, Greta, until their bond seems to exist only in the portrait Finn painted of them. With wry compassion, Brunt portrays the bitter lengths to which we will go to hide our soft underbellies, and how summoning the courage to be vulnerable is the only way to see through to each other's hungry, golden souls. --Mari Malcolm

Review

''A gorgeously evocative novel about love, loss, and the ragged mysteries of the human heart, all filtered through the achingly real voice of a remarkable young heroine. How can you not fall in love with a book that shows you how hope can make a difference?'' --Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author

''Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a charming, sure-handed, and deeply sympathetic debut. Brunt writes about family, adolescence, and the human heart with great candor, insight, and pathos.'' --Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author

''A dazzling debut novel.'' --O, The Oprah 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.'' --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 (four stars)

''With this debut novel that flawlessly encapsulates the fragile years during the mid-'80s when the specter of AIDS began to haunt society at large, Carol Rifka Brunt establishes herself as an emerging author to watch . . . Tell the Wolves I'm Home will undoubtedly be this summer's literary sleeper hit.'' --Minneapolis Star Tribune

''What begins as a wary relationship between former rivals for Finn's affection blossoms touchingly.'' --Publishers Weekly

''[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 universal story of how love chooses us and how flashes of our beloved live through us even after they're gone . . . With wry compassion, Brunt portrays the bitter lengths to which we will go to hide our soft underbellies and how summoning the courage to be vulnerable is the only way to see through to each other's hungry, golden souls.'' --Amazon.com, editorial review

''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.'' --Rebecca Makkai, author of The Borrower

''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 Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 1628 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1447218531
  • Publisher: The Dial Press (June 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005QPI9ZW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
138 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary from start to finish July 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This deeply moving novel, told from the point of view of an awkward 14-year-old girl in 1987, kept reminding me of To Kill a Mockingbird, which it even references once in passing. That's not to say that it's derivative--it most certainly isn't--but it is a powerful book about love, discrimination and misunderstanding, with a young female narrator, set in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, which figures prominently in the story. I couldn't recommend it more highly.

June Elbus is the goddaughter of her beloved uncle Finn, a celebrated artist who is dying of AIDS. As one of his last acts, he decides to paint a portrait of her and her sister, Greta. Once he dies, she learns that he was in a committed relationship with a man named Toby, who seeks her out, even though her family blames him for Finn's disease. Eventually they become close friends--she often sneaks into New York City from Westchester to visit him. And somewhat reluctantly, she begins to share memories of Finn with Toby, who has secrets of his own.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home is too complex a story to recap here, but along the way, Greta, a gifted singer who had been June's close friend and is now a mean older sister, contends with her own insecurities; their mother, Finn's sister, deals with her own lost opportunities; and once the painting's existence is leaked to the press, it becomes a focal point for much of the storyline. Because of Finn's renown and the fact that he hadn't produced any new shows for the past eight years, it is suddenly extremely valuable. I especially liked June's fixation on the Middle Ages, which she shared with Finn, and her inept interactions with her peers, especially young Ben, who keeps trying to interest her in Dungeons and Dragons.
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144 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite debut of the year! June 25, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I've been thinking about this novel ever since I closed the book and will be recommending it to everyone I know! 14-year-old June is a winningly awkward narrator who wishes she lived in the Middle Ages - she wears long skirts and lace-up boots, lugs around The Portable Medieval Reader, and wants to be a falconer when she grows up. We meet her in 1987 New York and her favorite uncle has just died of AIDS. Her parents seem more angry and bewildered than sad and June, with no one else to turn to to deal with her grief, strikes up an unlikely friendship with her uncle's boyfriend. Rifka Brunt does an amazing job charting their relationship in this brilliant coming-of-age novel.
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187 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful June 27, 2012
By Jambo
Format:Hardcover
I started the day with a one, maybe two cup. In bed. With this book. And it was a good thing that there was nothing urgent I had to do that day, because I read it in one sitting. Loved everything about this wonderful story. There are many kinds of love, and this story explores love, envy, jealously, family, grief, loss and redemption. There were several times when I cried. The good kinda of crying, not the sad kind. I hugged this book to my chest when I was done. What a lovely debut novel. The world is a better place with this book in it. 5 stars.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have reviewed over two hundred books on Amazon in recent years, and in each case I point out the virtues and flaws in each one. This is the first time I have absolutely nothing negative to say about a novel I'm reviewing. TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME is brilliant, and deeply moving without being sentimental or melodramatic. It is truly a must read.

In the novel, June, the 14 year old heroine, is not a typical teenager of the 1980s. She listens repeatedly to Mozart's Requiem, wears lace-up boots and wishes she were a falconer in the Middle Ages.

When the story begins, uncle Finn whom June adores, dies of Aids. Her accountant parents are buried in tax returns, and her older sister Greta, with whom she used to be close, treats her cruelly. Little does she expect that she will develop a secret friendship with Finn's lover Toby, who likewise is deeply grieving Finn's death, and who also has Aids. To complicate matters, June's mother, jealous of her brother Finn's attachment to Toby, will have nothing to do with Toby, and blames him for Finn's death.

Also central to the novel is a painting that the renowned artist, Finn has painted of Greta and June - a painting which will have a significant role to play upon June's relationship with her sister and her parents.

Author Brunt writes of June's experience of Finn: "Other than the green tie at his waist, the only color Finn had was in the little splotches of paint all over his white smock. The colors of me and Greta. I felt like grabbing the paintbrush out of his hand so I could color him in, paint him back to his old self."

With astute and idiosyncratic detail, Brunt realistically conveys the experience of growing up in the 1980s, when the specter of Aids is haunting the nation.
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111 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too YA For Me July 31, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tell The Wolves I'm Home is not a badly written book; quite the opposite. Carol Rifka Brunt writes a very compelling coming-of-age story of an alienated teenager named June Elbus, who forms a very close and special attachment to her uncle Finn. He is the only one who truly "gets" her, but very early on, he dies of AIDS.

June soon discovers that Finn had a longtime partner named Toby; June's mother forced Finn to not reveal his existence as a condition for spending time with June and her sister Greta. The friendship that develops between June and Toby is the catalyst to heal them both...if only they will let it.

It's a heartwarming book yet it seems to me that Tell The Wolves I'm Home works better as YA (young adult) literature. It has all the elements: teen protagonists, a theme that is subordinated to more tangible aspects of plot, setting and character, very telegraphed messages, and an educational aspect about what it was like to be gay at the advent of the AIDS epidemic. The message is one of tolerance and forgiveness - a message that is too often lacking in the country today. If I were reviewing this book as YA literature, I might have very well 5-starred it.

But I came into the book with other expectations. There are some fine portrayals here; June's testy relationship with her slightly older sister, Greta, is quite authentic. The unveiling of family secrets and motivations is likewise compelling. And the backdrop of the 1980s - a time of many anxieties and also possibilities - works nicely.

My rating is based solely on my own reading experience and should not distract other readers from picking up this book about two lonely people, trying to come to terms with their grief. Many readers/reviewers I respect connected far better than I did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book!
Not a happy read...but so well written that I was captivated by the characters. June is so conflicted, so...I don't even know. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Anniesez
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read. Very thought provoking
Good read. Very thought provoking.
Published 1 day ago by elo
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok. Much was unbelievable.
While well written, there is just too much going on with these characters. At times there is good build up but then the resolution is unsatisfying. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars for dealing so beautifully with grief
I rate this author very highly, for dealing so beautifully with grief.
Published 4 days ago by R. Teichman
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving and heart warming
It is so nice to read a novel that can be so honest and raw. The ending moved me to tears.
Thank you for writing this amazing story.

Nabil
Published 5 days ago by Scott Richter
3.0 out of 5 stars but I enjoyed it.
The storyline was a bit strange, but I enjoyed it.
Published 6 days ago by LJA1234
4.0 out of 5 stars Brunt tells a heartwarming tale of a young girl and ...
Brunt tells a heartwarming tale of a young girl and her relationships with family, especially her sister and uncle. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Ann Rourke
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for High School students
Enjoyable. Good for High School students.
Published 6 days ago by Rosalind F. Kaplan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good story about siblings, jealousy, comoning of age , love and loss.
Published 6 days ago by Jeanne
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Great book, very interesting characters. It was very heart warming story of a young girl growing up in New York and her love for her uncle who had AIDS.
Published 7 days ago by Correen E. Rooney
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More About the Author

Originally from New York, Carol Rifka Brunt now lives in England with her husband and three kids. Her work has been published in The North American Review, The Sun and elsewhere and has received funding from the New Writing Partnership and Arts Council England. Tell the Wolves I'm Home is her first novel.

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