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Tell the Wolves I’m Home: A Novel | [Carol Rifka Brunt]

Tell the Wolves I’m Home: A Novel

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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.

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.

Carol Rifka Brunt’s work has appeared in several literary journals, including the North American Review and the Sun. In 2006 she was one of three fiction writers who received a New Writing Ventures Award, and in 2007 she received a generous Arts Council England grant to write Tell the Wolves I’m Home, her first novel. Originally from New York, she currently lives in England with her husband and three children.

©2012 Carol Silverman (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“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)

“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)

“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.” (Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Robbie United States 10-15-13
    Robbie United States 10-15-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mesmerizing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have and would - bought the Kindle book for my best friend for her birthday! Although the protagonist was a teenage girl, I was wrapped up in the story, and was really able to see the natural progression of the actions and plot, and not get caught up in why people made the choices they made. I loved the way facts came forward over the course of the story, and the way characters interacted. I didn't know what to expect when I started the book, and soon found I couldn't stop until I was finished the whole thing! Very interested to read more from this author!


    What does Amy Rubinate bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her voice was really unique, and added to the uniqueness of the story. I found her to be a really great fit for the narration of this story!


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hollyn Chase Redding, CA United States 01-16-13
    Hollyn Chase Redding, CA United States 01-16-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Good--but I wanted Wonderful"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I bought the book because I thought the concept intriguing. I liked it--but I didn't love it.


    Would you recommend Tell the Wolves I’m Home to your friends? Why or why not?

    I have a segment of friends that might enjoy this novel as much, or perhaps more than I did. And another segment that I would not recommend this book to at all.


    What aspect of Amy Rubinate’s performance would you have changed?

    She did a good job.


    Was Tell the Wolves I’m Home worth the listening time?

    yes.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan east Boothbay, ME, United States 10-08-12
    Susan east Boothbay, ME, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Loved title so had to listen..."
    If you could sum up Tell the Wolves I’m Home in three words, what would they be?

    non-judgemental, coming-of-age, seventies


    What did you like best about this story?

    the setting of this story, 70's suburbia and NYC, and the release of taboo, AIDS and forbidden love, from an adolescent's view point that is not too loaded with other baggage to cloud the issues and themes makes it a fresh read, alarming too, in that a girl is heading into the unknown in the city....


    What does Amy Rubinate bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She does flesh out the main character nicely.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    a teen dealing with death is especially hard, not that it's ever easy. Emotions then are so amplified then it seems.


    Any additional comments?

    an enjoyable listen, that seemed to fit the changing of seasons, now to cooler, darker fall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 06-10-13
    Pamela Dale Foster Sykesville, MD 06-10-13 Member Since 2011

    I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    396
    ratings
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    242
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    "Keep No Secrets"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes but first I would encourage the friend to listen to the narrator first. The plot is good, the characters are well developed and the story is also a learning experience.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell the Wolves I’m Home?

    When June was able to tell Toby that she loved him.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Amy Rubinate’s performances?

    No. The voice of June was spoken in a monotone. Her voice would at times cause my stomach to do flip-flops. I would put aside my ipod and take a break. By doing this, I was able to finish the novel. I enjoyed the novel enough that I did get to the end of the book.


    Do you think Tell the Wolves I’m Home needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. The book was complete with its ending.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed the coming of age for June. I was pleased with how the subject of aids was discussed. Toby, who was the partner of Finn, June's god-father, uncle and best friend were the three pivotal characters of the book. Before Finn died from aids, he expressed a heart felt desire for Toby to help June to understand who Toby was to Finn. June had to sneak away to see Toby because her mother, Danny, did not approve of Toby. She blamed Toby for giving the aid's virus to her brother, Finn. After many trips to the city of Manhattan, June and Toby did become good friends. He answered questions, shared places he and Finn liked to visit, explained that his and Finn's apartment was filled with all that was of both himself and her Uncle Finn. These were a few of the ways that Toby imparted to June just how much Toby and Finn shared love. June's sister, Greta, was nasty towards June because of the close relationship June and Finn shared. Spending time with Toby did teach June just how important Finn felt towards her whole family and not just her. Having been able to understand so much more about her life by learning about Toby and Finn's relationship, she struggled through the many avenues of not understanding how coming of age brings with it the ability to understand and believe in the strength of love. June was able to take back all that she had learned from Toby, especially the meaning of love, and she became the catalyst that brought her family together as one.

    10 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra St. Louis, MO, United States 02-17-15
    Sandra St. Louis, MO, United States 02-17-15 Member Since 2007
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    "The narrator is unbearable"

    I fast forwarded through so much of it because of the boring narrator. She is so monotone and she makes it hard to even listen to the story. It's like she's bored and tired and doesn't feel like reading.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annelies roswell, GA, United States 10-31-13
    Annelies roswell, GA, United States 10-31-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "peeking..."
    What did you like best about Tell the Wolves I’m Home? What did you like least?

    It's a peek into a gay life - interesting and sympathetic.
    least? The family relationships: parents - children. Also the improbability of some of the story-line.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Carol Rifka Brunt again?

    no


    What about Amy Rubinate’s performance did you like?

    ok


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven E. Wedel Oklahoma 12-30-14
    Steven E. Wedel Oklahoma 12-30-14 Member Since 2010

    Author

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    "Mildly interesting story mired in flashbacks"
    What would have made Tell the Wolves I’m Home better?

    If the story had been as concerned with the present as it was the past.


    What was most disappointing about Carol Rifka Brunt’s story?

    The constant flashbacks.


    What didn’t you like about Amy Rubinate’s performance?

    That I never seemed to have a couple of forks to stab into my ears so I didn't have to hear her whining.


    What character would you cut from Tell the Wolves I’m Home?

    Only the ones with names beginning with letters.


    Any additional comments?

    My review from GoodReads.com:

    I seldom give up on a book, but about half of this one was all I could take. Within the first couple of chapters I was wondering why I'd thought it would interest me at all. Did I click the wrong link when I bought the audiobook? By Chapter 26 or wherever I finally quit I knew that if I had to endure one more flashback I'd eat the barrel of a pistol. I haven't returned to the story in about two weeks and still have no desire to pick it up again, so I'm just finished and moving on.

    The story? This whiny teenage girl's uncle dies of AIDS in 1987. She's the only one who'll be friends with the dead guy's lover. Blah, blah, blah. Constant freaking flashbacks. I swear, I don't think Brunt wrote a page that didn't contain the beginning or end of a flashback. The dynamic between the sisters was trite, predictable, and so boring. The protagonist's relationship with her dead uncle was weird and, really, kinda hard to believe, and I never bought how she didn't immediately ask the hard questions of his lover when the dude kept making contact with her.

    I hate quitting on a book. I do want to know what happened to these characters, and why the buttons were added to the shirt in the painting, but not enough to endure the rest of the book. If you want to give me a spoiler in the comments, go for it.

    My disdain was only increased by Amy Rubinate's breathy whine of a narration. Just the thought of listening to her again made me choose the dreck of morning shows on the radio or the millionth listen of an old CD instead of this book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Callie 10-15-14
    Callie 10-15-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    24
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    "Just Leaves Me Flat"

    I thought the themes and characters of this book would appeal to me, but after almost 20 chapters I just can't keep going right now. I'll try to finish it some other time, and will update this review if I change my mind, but it just doesn't stack up. Mostly, I think, it's the narrator. Hard to put my finger on what I don't like about her, but I just can't get to like her voice or way of reading. Too 'breathy" I saw her described in another review, and I agree with that. But also something about her cadences and intonation - too dramatic for some parts, too flat for others? Not really sure how to describe it, but it doesn't work for me.

    And the story is slow. You can kind of guess where it's going but it's taking a really long time to get there, with no clear reason for all the stuff in the meantime. And some parts of the plot and some characters' words and actions seem two-dimensional, not nuanced enough, and/or unrealistic. Greta is too uniformly cruel and creepy to June, the mom is not engaged with her kids or the brother in the way one would be under the cirvcumstances, the dad might as well have been left out so far, there's been so little about him. And they all have attitudes about AIDS that seem really dated for a novel from 2012. Maybe it's the difference between the world I inhabit and the "real" world, but I think we've come a ways since most people saw gays and AIDS in this light.

    Might be more appealing to teens.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 08-25-13
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Tell the book I'm gone!"
    What would have made Tell the Wolves I’m Home better?

    Anything! I found the story excruciating. The endless descriptions of every thought that went through the girl's head about everything and everyone was endless. I constantly found my thoughts wandering and just could not be interested in every thought she was having.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Carol Rifka Brunt again?

    Possibly.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Amy Rubinate?

    Sure.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I don't know. I couldn't finish it.


    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHRIS Tavares, FL, United States 07-26-13
    CHRIS Tavares, FL, United States 07-26-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    12
    11
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    1
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    "Coming of age in early days of AIDS"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    to my female and gay friends. not a guy book


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    June;


    What does Amy Rubinate bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    love her womanchild voice


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, but at over 12 hours, that wasnt possible


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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