Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt

My sister, Greta, and I were having our portrait painted by our uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying. This was after I understood that I wasn't going to grow up and move into his apartment and  live there with him for the rest of my life. After I stopped believing that the AIDS thing was all some kind of big mistake.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home is about losing love and finding love, I guess. In 1987, June Elbus's uncle and godfather, the painter Finn Weiss, dies. He's the only person who's ever really understood her, and now he's gone. Her older sister Greta has grown apart from her, and her parents are rarely around in the winter. But at Finn's funeral, she notices a stranger outside. Then she receives a package in the mail, with a beautiful teapot that Finn wanted her to have. She meets the stranger, whose name is Toby. He was Finn's partner, and the rest of her family thinks that he gave Finn AIDS on purpose. She meets with him many times, and gradually begins to trust him.

This was a very interesting book, and I really liked how the relationship between Finn and June was described. He's her uncle, but she also kind of feels disturbingly attracted to him. At the same time, they just really enjoy one another's company, and share the same tastes. June is fascinated in the medieval era, and he often took her to the Cloisters. They also loved Mozart's Requiem. It was really sweet to read. June feels somewhat betrayed when she learns that Toby knows all about her, and she knows nothing about Toby, which was entirely natural. She eventually learns to like Toby too though.

One thing that made me uneasy was that she just decided to go meet Toby, alone, with no one who knew where she was. Obviously, June has plenty of reservations about going, but she did it anyway, kind of spontaneously. In real life, I don't think that's a very good thing to do.

Being set in 1987, AIDS is kind of a new disease that no one knows much about. For example, June thinks that you could get it if someone kissed you on the head. The 1980's were definitely a good setting for this sad but sweet novel.

Read Tell the Wolves I'm Home:
  • if you like historical/realistic fiction
  • if you like books set in New York City
  • if you like books that deal with grief/love
355 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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