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
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.
This was by far one of the best books I've read and I read all the time. The characters are well developed and thoughtful, ones I will remember. I think that's one of the best things an author can do - characters that touch your soul and make you remember them. This is that author, and this is that book.
What a fabulous book. Really takes you back to the 80's and the onset of AIDS epidemic but in such a brilliantly and subtlety written way. Characters are so detailed and interesting. Highly recommend this book!
Tell the Wolves I'm Home
I read this book in 4 hours. Devoured it. It has been YEARS since I've loved a book so much. Fabulous writing. I can't recall the last time anything has touched me so much. I feel so blessed to have stumbled onto this book. Brava.