Set in 1980’s New York, ‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ is an intimate portrayal of one family in the grips of grief. Narrated by 14-year-old June, the novel follows the Elbus family in the wake of the death of Finn, June’s uncle, from AIDS in the opening pages
Devastated by the loss, June forms an unlikely connection with a strange man she sees at the funeral who might just be able to understand what she’s going through. The fact that this man is someone who her parents clearly don’t want her to know anything about is one more obstacle that June must overcome in her journey to make sense of recent events. Along the way, she must also find a way to reconnect with her older sister, Greta, who is dealing with issues of her own.
‘Tell The Wolves I’m Home’ is not just a novel about a family in turmoil. It’s also a novel about love and loss, friendship and jealousy, guilt and regret – and everything else in-between.Each member of the family has their own demons to tackle, and throughout the novel we’re right there with them as they attempt to come to terms with their feelings and mend the cracks in their relationships.
The author takes a difficult and highly emotionally charged topic and addresses it in way that’s both sensitive and refreshingly honest. As well as looking at the realities of living with and coping with AIDS, she also examines people’s responses to the disease, which in the mid-1980’s were all too often misinformed and misguided.
I found it hard to believe that this was Carol Rifka Brunt’s first novel. She writes with unerring compassion and conviction to create a vivid cast of characters that really come to life in the imagination of her readers, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.