Occasionally when people enter the bookYard I ask them about what journey they are on, about themselves and their book interests. Rarely do I find a person who contemplates a book cover but, when they do, I make sure to tickle their mind on what they think the book is about. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt has one of the most interesting book covers in the store and I found myself intrigued by what it may have to offer.
The book opens with: “My sister, Greta, and I were having our portrait painted by our uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying.” Immediately I knew this would be interesting enough to feed my taste for twisted novels. This book gripped my attention and I was glued to every page.
Uncle Finn is a world-renowned artist and he names the portrait of the two girls “Tell the Wolves I’m Home”. When he dies the portrait is kept in a bank vault by the girls’ mother after the media becomes interested in its value. Greta and her sister, June, are each given a key to access it.
Their uncle Finn was homosexual; his boyfriend Toby is at the funeral and is spotted by June who was close to her uncle Finn and feels the need to understand the man in his life. A few days later June receives by mail a package containing a beautiful teapot that she recognises from her uncle’s apartment. With it is a note from Toby asking if they can meet. She learns that what her mother had said about him was false; the mother doesn’t like Toby and resented uncle Finn’s fame, something that she wished to achieve but instead had to settle for being an accountant.
Over time June, Greta, their mother, and Toby add details to the portrait, without each other knowing. However, when the mother finds out she is furious, believing that it has decreased the portrait’s value.
Greta turns to drugs and alcohol to cope with how overwhelming her life has become and gets tangled up in Toby and June’s relationship. Then she gets Toby arrested. The night of the arrest, she tells her sister, June, of her feelings about June and
Finn’s close relationship and confesses to wishing she had got more from life while their uncle was alive.
After his release, Toby becomes absent from the girls’ lives and so June reaches out. She and Toby engage in conversation while he is in hospital. June faces the reality that she may have to relive a recent tragedy. Despite June’s mother’s hate towards Toby, she goes in and apologises to him. Toby is left to his fate.
The painting is restored nearly to its original state after months of work by an art inspector. Two extra details are left: a necklace around June’s neck and a ring on Greta’s finger.
This book brought all kinds of mystery, investigation, and suspicion. I definitely recommend it if you yearn the thrill of adventure. It takes a good book to make someone a reader, and this one could be your good book. It is currently available at the only bookstore on the island, here at the bookYard. Holiday treats are still available storewide so don’t miss out!