Tell the Wolves I’m Home
By: Carol Rifka Brunt
Published June 19, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
In this debut novel, Carol Rifka Brunt spins a tale of grieving, love, and mending as two strangers find that they were friends before they even met.
Set in 1987, June Elbus, a fourteen-year-old girl, loses the one person that ever truly knew her as a person. When her uncle Finn Weiss, a renowned artist, dies from an illness that very little was known about at the time, June falls apart as she tries to find her way back into a world that has been turned upside down on her.
With Finn’s death comes requests from beyond the grave. June receives a Russian teapot that she recognizes from her uncle’s apartment with a note from Toby, a man that her parents had warned her to stay away from at Finn’s funeral, requesting that she meet him at the train station the following week. As the unlikely pair begins to spend more time together, June realizes that she is not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can trust this mysterious man, she might find that he was the one she needed most.
This coming-of-age story is a tale of love lost and found again which always reminds the reader that sometimes compassion is all it takes to make us whole again.
This incredible novel is one that I’ve been searching for without even realizing it. Received as a graduation gift from a dear friend, this book took me all of three days to finish in my spare time around work.
Told from the point of view of a child so young with wisdom of an adult, this novel can both be viewed as a tragedy with lost love and full of missed opportunities and as a book with such poignant beauty which reminds us all that life goes on if we allow it to.
This novel is paired beautifully with Mozart’s Requiem which is often referred to in this novel by June when talking about her uncle and the things that he helped her discover. I highly suggest taking a listen to it as it grounds the story into your soul.
Each of these characters seem to place themselves into a portrait that allows the reader to wonder what each person is really thinking. Whether it’s June and her poetic way of looking at things, Finn and the way that he can only find beauty in the things around him, Toby and his vow to the one person who he loved more than anything in the world, or even Greta who has lost more growing up than she could ever really comprehend. These people all meld together into something so beautiful and really create a story that anyone can relate to.
This book is magic. The reader feels what June feels and discovers things just as she is while the world around her continues on so quickly and yet not quick enough for her. The storytelling that Brunt uses allows the reader to get lost in the story, as it reads almost like a fairy tale, but since the reader soon find that they know how the story will end, it keeps us wanting more.
I will never forget the ending of this story. It reminded me again, as it did through the whole story, that it’s okay to have a hard heart, but what matters is whether it’s of stone or ice. Will it break or will it melt? I find myself loving a novel even more if I have to wipe tears from my eyes with the sleeve of my sweatshirt, and that sealed the deal with me on this book.
If you appreciate a story that will make you laugh and cry all wrapped up in a well-written package, this novel is for you.
I give Tell the Wolves I’m Home a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Until next time,