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Tell the Wolves I'm Home [Kindle Edition]

Carol Rifka Brunt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)

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Book Description

My sister Greta and I were having our portrait painted by our Uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying. 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. So when he dies far too young of a mysterious illness that June’s mother can barely bring herself to discuss, June's world is turned upside down. At the funeral, she notices a strange man lingering just beyond the edges of the crowd, and a few days later, June receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn's apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, inviting her to meet up with him at a local train station. As it turns out, June isn't the only one who desperately misses Finn, and the secret and forbidden friendship that springs up between the two of them will break your heart, even as it heals theirs. Tell the Wolves I'm Home is the story of a meeting of two lost souls - a lonely girl and a mysterious stranger - and the ways in which their lives become intertwined as they each try to come to terms with their grief.

Product Description


"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" was named one of the "Wall Street Journal"'s Top 10 Novels of 2012, one of's Best Books of 2012, one of "Kirkus Reviews"' top 100 books of the year, and one of "Booklist"'s Top 10 First Novels of 2012 as well as a 2012 "O Magazine" Favorite Read. It is also a Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist for Fiction and a Shelf Awareness Reviewer's Choice pick for 2012.

"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)

"Carol Rifka Brunt's astonishing first novel is so good, there's no need to grade on a curve: "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" is not only one of the best debuts of 2012, it's one of the best books of the year, plain and simple. In a literary landscape overflowing with coming-of-age stories, "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" rises above the rest. The narrative is as tender and raw as an exposed nerve, pulsing with the sharpest agonies and ecstasies of the human condition." --Bookpage

"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

"Set at the height of the Aids crisis, this is a touching debut." --Daily Express


Advance praise for "Tell the Wolves I'm Home"

"[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)

"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."-"PW"

"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 of "Pictures of You"

""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 of "West of Here"

""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"

"Not since "To Kill A Mockingbird "have I read a piece of fiction that so beautifully captures the point of view of a young person, especially one so inspiringly unable to accept the prejudices of turns getting away- with-it exhilarating and pass-the-tissues heartbreaking -- but also a testament to the power of secrets kept and revealed."--"Metrosource"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007L24PII
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful debut novel 7 Jun. 2012
This is a wonderful story about the close bond between a young girl, fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and her inspirational uncle, the noted artist Finn Weiss. He's the only person that June feels she can share her secrets with, and reveal her true self to. When Finn passes away, June finds herself adrift, wondering how her life can possibly go on without Finn being a part of it. Then June meets Finn's partner Toby, who has never been mentioned to June before, and a new friendship is slowly formed which will alter the way she views herself and her late uncle. They are both lonely, struggling to cope with life without Finn, united in the immense loss and grief they share.

It is also about siblings, and the changing relationship between June and Greta as they grow up, having lost the closeness they once shared, both wanting it back but seemingly unable to rediscover it from under all the layers of jealousy and misunderstanding.

This is a lovely, sincere, warm-hearted book, with a story rooted in the early days of AIDS awareness, when misconceptions abounded and most people didn't openly discuss the illness. It is about our perceptions of people, the judgements we make, and how we can discover so much about ourselves and those close to us through the most unlikely friendships and in the most unexpected places.

I found this a profoundly moving novel, and a highly accomplished and heartfelt debut.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and compassionate 2 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fourteen-year-old June Elbus is not a typical teenager. Growing up in the late 1980's, she is shy and slightly geeky, daydreaming about living in medieval times, often disappearing into the local woods in an effort to make this a reality. The relationship with her older sister, Greta is now distant, and their parents are often absent from the scene as they immerse themselves in their work. The only person she is close to is her Uncle Finn; he is her best friend, her godfather, the only person who fully understands her. He introduces June to music, opera, theatre and art, and when Finn dies of a mysterious illness that no-one will discuss, June is grief-stricken. A few days after the funeral a man she has glimpsed briefly there hand delivers a package. Inside is the beautiful teapot she recognises as Finn's and a note from Toby, the stranger at the funeral asking June to meet him. So begins a strange and moving friendship, as June struggles to come to terms with her loss, a loss she is unable to discuss with anyone.

June's naivety is endearing, and that, along with her flashes of insight and wisdom make a compelling character. And who can help but love Finn and Toby? In fact all the characters are believable and sympathetic.

I loved this book not only for its beautifully written characters, but for its compassion. I was gripped from the first page and was actually quite sad to finish it and leave these people behind.

Most definitely an author to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different... Well-crafted and intelligent debut 19 Mar. 2013
By K. J. Noyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Very good; a moving and insightful story.

June's uncle is dying of AIDS. Before he dies, he paints a portrait of June and her sister Greta. June's family, including her increasingly bitter and distant sister, all blame his partner Toby for her uncle's death. June doesn't know what to think, and then she receives a letter from Toby asking to meet her.

Unique and beautiful, this book surprised me with the way the plot turned and flowed. There is a well-drawn relationship between the sisters, and plenty of characters to feel sympathy for and want to read more about. This isn't a choice for a light summer read but a great one for reading groups wanting to get their teeth into quite meaty issues; death, illness, family, love. What role does the painting of the sisters play in the book? It means different things to each person.
I couldn't understand the author's choice of setting though, as setting the story at the start of the AIDS epidemic didn't ring true. 80s references seemed forced in there to give the context, and I thought the idea of a family member dying from AIDS would have been almost the same now, as it was there seemed to be very little prejudice anyway from other characters towards the gay men. Just a few references to songs, books and films as well.
Still, the characters were robust and the ending bittersweet. I can almost see the painting...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful first novel 1 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this novel had a haunting quality to it. A very easy read, I made myself slow down to savour its complexities.

I agree with much of the praise for this book. I especially liked the way that Carol Rifka Brunt helps us to see what it was that Finn saw in the two people he seemed to care most about in the world, his 14 year old niece June, and his lover of 10 years Toby. Neither at first meeting are particularly charismatic!

I love the light she casts on the complexities of bereavement, and the competitive feelings we can sometimes have about a dead person's affections. In fact, she's excellent at making you actually feel every situation her characters find themselves in.
This is quite a special ability in a novelist. All her characters are most sensitively treated.

Finn was forced by his sister to lie about his life, something that will be familiar to many gay people. Toby's resulting invisibility to June and the family was extremely movingly described and rather shocking, and made the final chapters all the more satisfying. So often in this novel, people have their own parallel worlds because it isn't OK to be yourself. I like the way only some of those worlds have been reconciled by the end of the book. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to find out how June's life works out and whether she fulfills the potential her uncle Finn clearly thought she had?

A wonderful first novel (should be 4.5 stars). Perhaps a little drawn out in the final chapters, but always an engrossing read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. Loneliness, aids, adolescence, family relationships - they are all handled sensitively and well, and this makes the story an interesting read for young... Read more
Published 1 day ago by bookworm8
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
I liked this book from the first page. Great writing and thoroughly recommend it. Found it hard to put down.
Published 6 days ago by Ingrid duffy
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the child June's realisation of growing up with the...
June Elbus is growing up very slowly in her family and by her own admission she regularly retreats into a world of medieval make believe with costumes in the woods. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gill
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful writing throughout...
Tell the Wolves I'm Home written by Carol Rifka Brunt was quite a good book which kept my interest to a certain degree but unfortunately for me it was not a book which I would say... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Petra "I love to read"
1.0 out of 5 stars very slow I had to give up half way through ...
very slow I had to give up half way through and go to the end which is very unusual for me
Published 2 months ago by maureen goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars What grief does......
22 years ago, a friend of mine died. Aids. just a little time before that wonderful cocktail of drugs was found that would have kept him alive. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Both the Macs
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent, as always
Published 4 months ago by Seven1945
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant. I loved this book
Just brilliant. I loved this book. But you'll have to read it to find out why - it speaks for itself more clearly than I ever can.
Published 4 months ago by Ms. M. A. Whitehouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and a tense tight storyline that maintains realism...
This had an extremely original storyline - a teenage girl befriends the man that her family hold responsible for the death of her beloved and supremely talented uncle. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. I. McCulloch
3.0 out of 5 stars Highly sentimental and problematic yet strangely compelling
Back in the 1980s we had books from writers like Paul Monette and David Feinberg who wrote so eloquently and honestly about AIDS that they created a whole genre of fiction. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Androo
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