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The Fountains of Silence
Cover of The Fountains of Silence
The Fountains of Silence
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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,...
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,...
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  • 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.
    Praise for The Fountains of Silence
    "Spain under Francisco Franco is as dystopian a setting as Margaret Atwood's Gilead in Ruta Sepetys's suspenseful, romantic and timely new work of historical fiction . . . Like [Shakespeare's family romances], 'The Fountains of Silence' speaks truth to power, persuading future rulers to avoid repeating the crimes of the past." The New York Times Book Review
    "Full of twists and revelations...an excellent story, and timely, too." —The Wall Street Journal
    "A staggering tale of love, loss, and national shame." —Entertainment Weekly

    * "[Sepetys] tells a moving story made even more powerful by its placement in a lesser-known historical moment. Captivating, deft, and illuminating historical fiction." Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW*
    * "This gripping, often haunting historical novel offers a memorable portrait of fascist Spain."Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*
    *
    "This richly woven historical fiction . . . will keep young adults as well as adults interested from the first page to the last." —SLC, *STARRED REVIEW*
    *
    "Riveting . . . An exemplary work of historical fiction." The Horn Book, *STARRED REVIEW*
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1


    They stand in line for blood.


    June's early sun blooms across a string of women waiting patiently at el matadero. Fans snap open and flutter, replying to Madrid's warmth and the scent of open flesh wafting from the slaughterhouse.


    The blood will be used for morcilla, blood sausage. It must be measured with care. Too much blood and the sausage is not firm. Too little and the sausage crumbles like dry earth.


    Rafael wipes the blade on his apron, his mind miles from morcilla. He turns slowly from the line of customers and puts his face to the sky.


    In his mind it is Sunday. The hands of the clock touch six.


    It is time.

    The trumpet sounds and the march of the pasodoble rolls through the arena.

    Rafael steps onto the sand, into the sun.

    He is ready to meet Fear.

    In the center box of the bullring sits Spain's dictator, Generalísimo Francisco Franco. They call him El Caudillo — leader of armies, hero by the grace of God. Franco looks down to the ring. Their eyes meet.

    You don't know me, Generalísimo, but I know you.


    I am Rafael Torres Moreno, and today, I am not afraid.


    "Rafa!"

    The supervisor swats the back of Rafael's damp neck. "Are you blind? There's a line. Stop daydreaming. The blood, Rafa. Give them their blood."

    Rafa nods, walking toward the patrons. His visions of the bullring quickly disappear.

    Give them their blood.

    Memories of war tap at his brain. The small, taunting voice returns, choking daydreams into nightmares. You do remember, don't you, Rafa?

    He does.

    The silhouette is unmistakable.

    Patent-leather men with patent-leather souls.


    The Guardia Civil. He secretly calls them the Crows. They are servants of Generalísimo Franco and they have appeared on the street.

    "Please. Not here," whispers Rafael from his hiding spot beneath the trees.

    The wail of a toddler echoes above. He looks up and sees Julia at the open window, holding their youngest sister, Ana.

    Their father's voice booms from inside. "Julia, close the window! Lock the door and wait for your mother. Where is Rafa?"

    "Here, Papá," whispers Rafael, his small legs folded in hiding. "I'm right here."

    His father appears at the door. The Crows appear at the curb.

    The shot rings out. A flash explodes. Julia screams from above.

    Rafa's body freezes. No breath. No air.

    No.

    No.

    No.

    They drag his father's limp corpse by an arm.

    "¡Papá!"


    It's too late. As the cry leaves his throat, Rafa realizes. He's given himself away.

    A pair of eyes dart. "His boy's behind the tree. Grab him."

    Rafa blinks, blocking the painful memories, hiding his collapsed heart beneath a smile.

    "Buenos días, señora. How may I help you?" he asks the customer.

    "Blood."

    "Sí, señora."


    Give them their blood.

    For more than twenty years, Spain has given blood. And sometimes Rafa wonders — what is left to give?

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 29, 2019
    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.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2019
    The pitiless dictatorship of Francisco Franco examined through the voices of four teenagers: one American and three Spaniards. The Spanish Civil War lasted from 1936-1939, but Franco held Spain by its throat for 36 years. Sepetys (Salt to the Sea, 2016, etc.) begins her novel in 1957. Daniel is a white Texan who wants to be a photojournalist, not an oilman; Ana is trying to work her way to respectability as a hotel maid; her brother, Rafael, wants to erase memories of an oppressive boys' home; and Puri is a loving caregiver for babies awaiting adoption--together they provide alternating third-person lenses for viewing Spain during one of its most brutally repressive periods. Their lives run parallel and intersect as each tries to answer questions about truth and the path ahead within a regime that crushes any opposition, murders dissidents, and punishes their families while stealing babies to sell to parents with accepted political views. This formidable story will haunt those who ask hard questions about the past as it reveals the hopes and dreams of individuals in a nation trying to lie its way to the future. Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience. (author's note, research and sources, glossary, photographs) (Historical fiction. 15-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2019

    Gr 7 Up-In her latest historical novel, Sepetys illuminates dark secrets about Francisco Franco's fascist rule of Spain. In 1957 Madrid, 18-year-old aspiring photojournalist Daniel Matheson is staying at the luxurious Castellana Hilton Hotel with his Texas oil tycoon father and Spanish mother. Daniel befriends Ana, a hotel employee, whose attraction to Daniel is constrained by fear about losing her job and by silence about her family tragedies. When Daniel turns his camera lens on local people and places, he captures provocative images of nuns and orphans, infant burials, an impassioned, struggling bullfighter, the intimidating Guardia Civil military police, Ana's impoverished homelife, and his father shaking hands with Franco. Gradually, Daniel discovers that beneath the bustling tourist and business vibe of Madrid lurks the dark realities of Franco's regime: stolen children, sinister church and government collusion, murder of Franco's political adversaries, and the abuse and re-education of surviving children-like Ana and her siblings. Troubled by unanswered questions, Daniel returns to the U.S. with his parents and a newly adopted sister. He revisits Spain with his sister 18 years later, after Franco's death. As he introduces his sister to her original culture, he fondly reconnects with Ana and learns the truth of his sister's parentage. This multidimensional story contains a rich cast of characters with different perspectives, vivid descriptions, romance, and cultural insights. Multiple narrative threads are skillfully woven together. Official quotations from academic and foreign service archives are interspersed among the chapters and document the conflicted relationship between the U.S. and Franco. VERDICT This well-crafted story sheds light on a disturbing chapter of 20th century history and helps break the silence and expose the tragedy of 300,000 children adopted or stolen during Franco's rule.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham Public Schools, NC

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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