"Tell the wolves I'm home" parla di come si vorrebbe possedere ogni istante della persona amata, di come bisogna condividerla con altri e di come restano solo i ricordi quando veniamo lasciati soli.
"Tell the wolves I'm home" is about wanting to possess every istant of the loved one life, the fact that this is impossible since we have to share that life with other people and how memories are the only things left when we are left alone....Continua
This book is an extraordinary debut from a novelist who is skilled in her craft, her characters are created perfectly and leap from the page to take a part of your own life whilst you are reading.
Junie Elbus, fourteen-years old and a little quirky, she could even be called a geek if you like. Nobody understands her except for her Uncle Finn. Uncle Finn, a talented artist, a man who treats Junie as if she were a queen, who takes her places, shows her new things and lets her be herself. Uncle Finn, who is dying of AIDS and wants his final gift to Junie to be an extra special portrait of her and her sister.
It is not until Finn dies that Junie discovers that she wasn't in fact, the centre of his world. Junie discovers that Finn had a 'special friend', Toby, and that according to her Mom and Dad, Toby murdered Finn.
Carol Rifka Brunt
Junie needs to know more and as she and Toby start their secret friendship she discovers more and more about her Uncle Finn, and also about herself and her family.
Junie's older sister Greta has always been the successful sister, the actress, the singer. Junie knows however, that Greta's best piece of acting is the way she appears to others, underneath is a struggling, sad girl who hates herself and most things around her.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a story of people, there is no fast-paced plot line, it is a gentle unpeeling of a family and it's secrets. Each character plays their own part with Junie and Finn at the centre. Yet the author never really 'meets' Finn, he dies almost before the story begins, yet it is his influence and his character that forms the rest of the novel.
Gentle, beautiful, captivating and quite brlliant...Continua
I really enjoyed this book, it started off really well and kept me reading. The way the relationship developed between June and Toby and June and greta kept the book moving. A great ending with everyone coming back together!
This is so not my kind of book. Literary fiction about a pre teen and her relationships with her sister, godfather/uncle and family. Nothing much happens. There's very little in the way of excitement or crisis. You do get a couple of deaths, but given the possibility of one is mentioned on the cover, it's hardly a big surprise. And yet, I couldn't put it down. And now that I've read it, I want to read it again, as I've got a feeling there are more strands that I didn't catch the first time through.
So much of it felt familiar, like things I've always known but never put into words. The main character isn't utterly likeable - she's self centred, a bit pretentious, utterly oblivious to what's going on around her. But she's a teenage girl, it kind of comes with the territory. Her family are ordinary, apart from her uncle who was a talented artist but has done nothing new for years. He's dying of 'the AIDs' and that's the setting for the story. He's painting a portrait of the two girls and it's his finger on the thread running throughout the story that drives this book.
There are so many strands to a family. So many opportunities to build bridges or set them on fire. The problem is spotting which is which, and I think that might be the moral of the story. There are unanswered questions - how did the relationship between June's mother and her brother, June's uncle Finn break down? What opportunities did her mother miss that make her so desperate her children should grasp every one that comes to them?
Like I said, I'm going to have to read this again, because I think it's a story a bit like a set of matryoshka nesting dolls, with more to be seen each time you unpack it.
‘Tell the Wolves’ is every bit the hauntingly beautiful human story I had been expecting.
The premise is simple: a fourteen year old girl, June Elbus, loses her beloved uncle to AIDS. A renowned but reclusive artist, Finn Weiss had spent his last months painting a portrait of June and her sister, Greta. June soon begins to realise that she didn’t know her uncle as well as she’d thought, and so begins an extraordinary journey of discovery.
However, the story itself is much more complex. Soon after Finn’s death, June learns that he had a secret boyfriend, Toby. June is fiercely jealous, upset that there is a part of Finn’s life she wasn’t privy to; to compound her misery, her family tell her that Toby murdered Finn, that he was responsible for giving Finn AIDS. June immediately resolves to have nothing to do with Toby. She hates him passionately, her grief and suddenly obvious loneliness forming a shield of anger. However, little by little, Toby worms his way into June’s life and into her heart, to the extent where – eventually – she risks everything for him.
Whilst on the surface ‘Tell the Wolves’ is about June’s acute grief and inability to deal with Finn’s death, it is also about growing up. It is about how everyone feels like an outsider, regardless of whether – like June herself – you really do walk off the beaten track, taking pleasure in things from another time, such as a Gunne Sax dress or Mozart’s Requiem. In contrast, Greta is considered one of the ‘popular’ crowd, exceptionally talented and intelligent beyond her years; yet still, surrounded by people, she feels completely alone. June says many times that she never knows “who I am to people”, and that is a central theme through this novel – nobody knows who they are in relation to others.
Told from June’s first-person perspective, the initial chapters do not flow easily; there is a shaky, erratic feel to the opening of the novel. Although it meant my reading of ‘Tell the Wolves’ did not get off to a smooth start, I liked the fact that the shifting timeframes gave me a real sense of June’s bewilderment. I genuinely felt that there was emotion behind Finn’s loss. As June begins to explore a world without Finn, the narrative settles down and from that point the novel becomes almost all-consuming. I carried it everywhere, reading a page here and there whenever I got the chance.
There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, with subplots aplenty; every character has their own story, and June naturally doesn’t see everything and doesn’t understand everything she sees. Like any fourteen year old, she is wrapped up in herself, but this makes it even more rewarding when all the strands come together.
The first real shock comes when it is revealed that a new drug has been given the go-ahead, offering a lifeline to AIDS sufferers mere weeks after Finn has passed away. This knowledge remains in the reader’s awareness and, whilst it adds a poignancy to Finn’s passing, we cling to the hope that it may change Toby’s story. Later, we also become invested in Greta’s story and in the backstory that is June’s mother’s history with Finn. There is a real tapestry of human experience woven into ‘Tell the Wolves’, with something for every reader to relate to.
June’s journey is nicely reflected by her experience with the wolves in the woods. When she first hears them, she is apprehensive and scared, although she would hate to admit it; this is reminiscent of the early stages of her relationship with Toby. Later, the wolves become a familiar presence, so much so that they provide a source of comfort when June finds herself walking with Ben, a boy from school, during a nerve-wracking party; Toby also becomes a friendly figure, although their friendship is a strange and convoluted one. Finally, via Ben, June learns the truth about the wolves’ origins and discovers that they are to be put down; this echoes June’s discovery about Toby’s life and his relationship with Finn, as well as the realisation that he really is dying of AIDS, that their friendship will eventually have to come to an end.
Carol Rifka Brunt has laid out an incredible cast of characters. Everyone is flawed, everyone has weaknesses, and this means that everyone is human and real. It is clear that where Brunt truly excels is in character development; these are not just representations on a page, but three dimensional personalities. Brunt has taken the time to get to know them and this comes across to the reader in the hints of backstory. Seemingly small details, like June’s mother’s denial of her dreams in order to settle into the life she now leads, come together to make sense of more immediate issues, such as Greta’s determination to please everyone and her subsequent envy of June.
Funnily enough, it is the characters who believe themselves least worthy of love – Toby, Greta and June herself – whom I found myself loving most of all. Toby has a chequered past and is a homosexual immigrant living with AIDS in 1987 – a time when nobody understood the disease and very few were accepting of his sexuality. Part of him feels he owes a debt to Finn, for loving him when nobody else would, and part of him feels like the luckiest man in the world for having been with Finn at all. He agrees to be kept a secret and to take the blame for giving Finn AIDS; whilst it could be argued that this is a sign of true devotion, of a willingness to do anything for the other person, to me it felt horribly self-deprecating. I couldn’t help but read Toby as a man with such little self-belief that he had idolised the first person to show him love and kindness, and trapped himself in a relationship in which he would always come second.
June and Greta refer to themselves as “tax orphans” during the time of year when their parents’ accountancy work takes precedence over family life. It seems that, as they have grown older, the time of year that used to bond them so closely together now just highlights how far they have drifted apart. However, it seemed to me that, just as June sees that the space between the two girls in Finn’s painting forms the shape of a wolf, so the space that has developed between the sisters in reality forms the shape of Finn himself.
In many ways, Toby and June are very similar. Both outcasts, taken under the wing of Finn, whose attention had the power to make anyone feel special, they find themselves cast suddenly adrift in the wake of his death. June describes Toby as “a kite with nobody holding the string”, a description which fits many of the characters in ‘Tell the Wolves’.
‘Tell the Wolves I’m Home’ is a moving tale of life, death, love and hope. I laughed, I gasped, I cried, and at the end I mourned the fact that my time with these characters was over. But, like June and Toby, I have not “moved on” but have instead taken part of ‘Tell the Wolves’ away with me....Continua