The Fountains of Silence

by Ruta Sepetys | Teens |
ISBN: 0399160310 Global Overview for this book
Registered by k00kaburra of San Jose, California USA on 7/23/2020
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by k00kaburra from San Jose, California USA on Thursday, July 23, 2020
This was the featured title in the October Young Adult Once Upon a Book Club subscription box. Each month, a box with a book plus some 3-4 little gift-wrapped packages is sent out to all subscribers. Each little item has a tag with a page number, and you open the gift when you reach that page.


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray comes a gripping, extraordinary portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography—and fate—introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War—as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence—inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

Journal Entry 2 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Thursday, July 23, 2020
Started reading last night.

Journal Entry 3 by k00kaburra at San Jose, California USA on Friday, August 7, 2020
Finished last night.

I've never thought very much about 20th century Spain. That sounds terrible, I know. But the only time it ever gets mentioned in an American high school is when English teachers note that authors like Hemingway spent some time there because of the Spanish Civil War. Maybe there's a passing mention to Franco in history class, but there are so many other dictators to cover.

So one of the biggest eye-openers in Sepetys' novel is the harsh life Spaniards endured for decades. The strict control of the regime over the daily life of its citizens is horrible. The poverty suffered by those outside the middle and upper classes is heartbreaking. The stolen infants and disappearing children is a humanitarian atrocity. Sepetys' account is striking, raw, and haunting.

Throughout the story, an epic romance unfolds between a wealthy American and one of the maids in his hotel. While their flirtation was enjoyable enough, the contrast in their daily lives is what I remember, and Daniel's growing desire to reveal the oppression to the wider world is what I celebrated. That desire to chronicle, to share the truth - it's a strong human need, and one that I find very sympathetic in these troubled times. Perhaps if I was a bit younger, I would have been more captivated by the heady desires of young love. But in my older, jaded state I find it hard to believe that two would fall so head-over-heels in such a short amount of time.

I felt such sympathy for young Puri, a girl who blindly follows the teachings of the church even as she begins to realize that something is horribly wrong at the orphanage where she works. Throughout the novel, her faith in the nuns slowly erodes as her natural curiosity leads her to investigate inconsistencies, but her fear of her superiors and her desire to continue to care for the children leave her unable to fully uncover the truth. At the end of the book, it seems she's lived an unhappy, somewhat unfulfilled life, and there's a sadness in that.

I'm a bit surprised this was marketed as young adult. The characters read a bit older to me, though I think most of them are still teenagers? A hard life does age a person beyond their years, though, and since Sepetys' previous novels have all been YA I suppose her publisher felt it only natural that this novel be marketed as such, too.

Released 2 yrs ago (8/30/2020 UTC) at USA in --, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA


sent to a swapper in Hanover, PA to fulfill a request on!

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