1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A THEMATIC TAPESTRY,
This review is from: Tell the Wolves I'm Home (Hardcover)
Carol Rifka Brunt has created a seductive cast of characters to populate TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME, a tale as unusual as the chemistry contained in its myriad relationships and stories Set in the 1980's, it addresses the pain and fear experienced by friends and family when a loved one was diagnosed with the AIDS virus . Narrated by fourteen year old June Elbus, this perceptive portrayal of a frayed family advances a multi-faceted look at the grieving process and the assiduous effort required in navigating the often choppy waters in the process we refer to as "growing up".
June's Uncle Finn is the AIDS infected artist, and has decided to paint one last picture. It is a portrait of his two nieces Greta and June which he has titled it TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME . The paintings title refers to the almost invisible wolf shaped space separating the paintings two subjects. It could also refers to the pain of separation that eats at each of the books characters like a ravenous wolf: Finn's self imposed separation from the art world, his sister's (the girl's mother) withdrawal and separation from Finn's life, the separate lives lived by each member of the Elbus family, the compulsory separation of Finn and his significant other Toby, Toby's separation from his country and finally, and finally the way that grieving sometimes causes us to erect a barrier to protect and separate us from further hurt.
The Uncle Finn character appears stoic and unruffled as he confronts his disease and nurtures his relationship with god-daughter June which makes his death all the more devastating to her. Toby, also a victim of the dreaded AIDS virus, remains a shadow figure until after Finn's death at which time he enters June's life and slowly attempts to convince June to share their memories of Finn so that both may attain some sort of healing and closure.
June's sister Greta is a fragmented and very fragile character although she tries to appear very strong and in control. Only sixteen, she is a senior in high school, possesses an amazing vocal and acting talent and attempts to compensate for the fact that she is more than a little damaged and living far beyond her comfort zone by subjecting June to malicious tricks and hurtful taunts concerning their Uncle Finn.
The parents are noticeably detached and absent both physically and emotionally and have chosen the burdens of their jobs as a convenient excuse for having turned their daughters into what could only be described as "latch-key kids".
This is a beautiful novel that explores the various relationship aspects of love, betrayal, loss and ultimate healing. A great read whether your 16 or 60.