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Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel by…
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Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Carol Rifka Brunt

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1,4721265,064 (4.16)79
Member:twinkley
Title:Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel
Authors:Carol Rifka Brunt
Info:New York : Dial Press, c2012.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:coming of age

Work details

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
This was an exceptional read that brought me to tears. Throughout the book the characters grew individually and with each other. Everything was brought together beautifully, showing all of the feelings that each character struggled with. Perfectly told. I could not put it down. ( )
  LanaMarie | Jul 15, 2015 |
holy shit. Can I give this 100 stars or something BECAUSE I TRULY THINK FIVE STARS DOESN'T DO IT JUSTICE. this is definitely going to be my favourite book of all time.

That was the most poignant yet beautiful story I have ever read. I can't even begin to describe Carol Rifka Brunt's writing. Even though my heart has broken down into a gazillion pieces right now, I dearly wish I could read it all over again for eternity like I've never read it before just to experience all those emotions I've went through again and again. That's how powerful her writing is. She has the ability to make the characters so real and tangible. I teared up quite a few times while reading and the ending left me feeling really empty... like I don't even know what to write anymore right now because my mind is still reeling about the story ARGHHHHH

I wished I'm good with words so I can list down every freaking emotion I'm going through right now but unfortunately I'm not. So, to anyone who hasn't read this yet, GO BUY IT. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!!!!!!
( )
1 vote novewong | Jul 8, 2015 |
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt is beautiful - achingly lovely. A perfect book.

June is a girl who likes to dress up in medieval boots and go deep into the woods so that she can pretend she’s back in time. She wants to be a falconer. She is alone at school, where the other kids don’t get her - and she is not particularly interested in them, either - and at home where her parents are always busy with work and her older sister, Greta always seems to be picking on her. June’s one, only and best friend is her uncle Finn, a talented, charming painter who takes her around New York and shows her the magic of the medieval cloisters and the beauty of classical music.

When her uncle dies of AIDs June is devastated, but comes to realize that there is a whole other dimension to Finn that she did not know about. His boyfriend, Toby, has always been around, but kept secret from her - strictly forbidden by June’s mother to have any contact with the family. At first, because of things she hears her parents and sister saying, June blames Toby for Finn’s death, but as she gets to know him, she finds herself learning more about Toby, Finn, her parents and herself.

All the while, she is also trying to figure out the mystery of her sister, Greta, who would seem to have it all - beautiful and talented she not only gets the lead in the school play, but is already being offered a part in a professional production. But all is not right with Greta, she acts mean to June, but then entreats her to come to parties, where Greta gets drunk and runs away from the other kids. What is going on, and will June and Greta ever be as close as they once were?

Just before he died, their Uncle Finn painted a magnificent portrait of the two girls mysteriously titled ”Tell the Wolves I’m Home.” Their mother insists on keeping the valuable painting in a safety deposit box at the bank, but what she doesn’t know is that Greta and June have been secretly going there and adding their own personal touches to Finn’s masterpiece, as the unspoken tension between them shivers and tightens.

There are so many layers to this book, and all of the characters are wonderfully and realistically complex. I appreciated how it wasn’t outright homophobia that caused June’s mother’s hostility towards Toby, but a more complex history of love and falling out between the two siblings, as well as her mother’s lost dreams of painting and feeling abandoned by her beloved brother. Greta, likewise, is not a villain and the reasons behind her actions and the way she treats June are revealed satisfyingly, sadly, realistically.

Finally, the language itself is simply stunning.

Wolves contains the best description of shyness I have ever read:

”I’m okay with one or two people, but more than that and I turn into a naked mole rat. That’s what being shy feels like. Like my skin is too thin, the light too bright. Like the best place I could possibly be is in a tunnel far under the cool, dark earth. Someone asks me a question and I stare at them, empty-faced, my brain jammed up with how hard I’m trying to find something interesting to say. And in the end, all I can do is nod or shrug, because the light of their eyes looking at me, waiting for me, is just too much to take. And then it’s over and there’s one more person in the world who thinks I’m a complete and total waste of space.” (p.33-34)

Also, this is amazing:

”I wasn’t interested in drinking beer or vodka or smoking cigarettes or doing all the other things Greta thinks I can’t even imagine. I don’t want to imagine those things. Anyone can imagine things like that. I want to imagine
wrinkled time, and forests thick with wolves, and bleak midnight moors.”
(p. 59)

And here is June contemplating her father and mother, stuck in their boring accountant jobs:

”I really wondered why people were always doing what they didn’t like doing. It seemed like life was a sort of narrowing tunnel. Right when you were born, the tunnel was huge. You could be anything. Then, like, the absolute second after you were born, the tunnel narrowed down to about half that size.You were a boy, and already it was certain you wouldn’t be a mother and it was likely you wouldn’t become a manicurist or a kindergarten teacher. Then you started to grow up and everything you did closed the tunnel in some more. You broke your arm climbing a tree and you ruled out being a baseball pitcher. You failed every math test you ever took and you canceled any hope of being a scientist. Like that. On and on through the years until you were stuck. You’d become a baker or a librarian or a bartender. Or an accountant. And there you were. I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you’d have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just go squashed.” (p. 254) ( )
  catfantastic | Jul 6, 2015 |
This was a heartfelt book about family ties, unconditional love & following your heart. Although it was heart-wrenching at times, it was beautiful. ( )
  JanJanFreeman | May 5, 2015 |
This is a beautiful book filled with huge ideas and emotions lying right under the surface, like a picture painted over. ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
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Epigraph
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For Maddy, Oakley, and Julia
First words
My sister, Greta, and I were having our portrait painted by our uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying.
Quotations
You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decided what you were going to believe and that was that. Whether you liked it or not.
You could never see any wolves in there. They hid, probably trying to pretend they weren't in a cage. Probably knowing that they looked just like plain old dogs when they were behind bars.
The gold in our hair looked so perfect right then, and I knew we both saw it. We could see the way it made us look like the closest of sisters. Girls made of exactly the same stuff.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679644199, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: 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, she 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—who 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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:21 -0400)

It is 1987, and only one person has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus -- 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.… (more)

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