The Fountains of Silence

Ruta Sepetys. Philomel, $18.99 (512p) ISBN 978-0-399-16031-8
Sepetys (Salt to the Sea) again deftly explores a painful chapter in history, this time Franco’s Madrid. In 1957, 18-year-old Daniel, an aspiring photojournalist from Texas, visits Spain with his Spanish mother and American oil tycoon father. After arriving, he hones his lens on the culture, in some cases capturing forbidden images that earn the wrath of the menacing Guardia Civil, and he forms a relationship with his enigmatic hotel attendant, Ana, and her family, who are barely surviving, in stark contrast to Daniel’s family’s affluence. The tension heightens as a mystery involving orphans unfolds and Daniel and Ana’s magnetic romance progresses. The novel revolves around Ana’s brother, Rafa, a bullfighting promoter; her cousin Puri, who works at an orphanage; a lecherous American ambassador; and an experienced newspaper bureau chief, who mentors Daniel. Sepetys skillfully conveys Spain’s atmosphere under Franco—who limited women’s rights and squelched rebellion—with a pervasive feeling of fear and economic oppression. Compelling primary source materials, such as memos from U.S. presidents, oral history excerpts, and even hotel brochures, precede some chapters and contextualize the narrative. This gripping, often haunting historical novel offers a memorable portrait of fascist Spain. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/25/2019
Release date: 10/22/2019
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-0-593-10566-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-593-10568-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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