I am always really sensitive to books that target real world issues like loneliness and the loss of a loved one. There are many authors that I feel do these situations justice. When I see an author’s debut, however, I start out skeptical.
This is how it was with Carol Rifka Brunt and her debut novel “Tell The Wolves I’m Home.” Brunt currently lives in England but grew up in New York — the setting for her novel.
“The sun kept on with its slipping away, and I thought how many small good things in the world might be resting on the shoulders of something terrible.”
The story revolves around our 14-year-old protagonist June Elbus, who suffers the terrible loss of her favorite uncle, Finn. It takes place in the late 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic in America and globally. AIDS took June’s uncle — the one person she felt understood her best — away from her.
The feelings of loss and loneliness sat heavily on me throughout the entire book, until I met the character Toby. Together with June, Toby grieved for the loss of someone held so dear.
Reading “Tell the Wolves I’m Home” humbled me to the core. It forced me to grieve with each character and feel their pain, without having it be melodramatic in any way. Brunt skillfully spun together minute details into an intricate, elaborate piece of literature.
For a debut, I’d say that’s pretty stellar. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Brunt in the future. Hopefully another book that will make me cry, and dream of a beautiful tomorrow.
You can reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @marie_eo.