The Fountains of Silence is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of a group of young people making their way through incredibly tumultuous times in Franco-era Spain. Full of imagery, vignettes from historical documents, and pictures from the era, this book should make it to your reading pile and quickly.
The setting of this book is Spain from roughly the 1940’s to 1970’s. The author does a masterful job of describing the buildings and neighborhoods during those periods. Details are given not only in the macro view, but also in the micro, which allows for a very rich reading experience and makes you feel like you are standing in the middle of the street looking around and experiencing all the sights and sounds.
I loved the characters in this novel. Each were distinctive and were so creatively crafted. I was very surprised at how well both characters from Texas and from Spain were captured. It was easy to understand Ana’s desire to be youthful and free and yet her hesitation and carefulness not to endanger her family during a time of strict regulation. Daniel was so quintessentially Texas. Right down to the belt buckle and boots. The surrounding cast of characters seemed so perfectly placed throughout the book and fit so seamlessly into the settings that the book was a pleasure to read.
Franco-era Spain is a time period fraught with questions and difficult answers, when answers can be found. I can understand why the author took eight years to research this novel. While fiction, the book very easily could be non-fiction and is an inspiring springboard into doing more research and reading on the topics included. The small vignettes that are laced throughout the book from U.S. archives add credibility and color to the book that makes the storyline that much more real-life.
This is a long book, but every page is worth the time it takes to read, and I would highly recommend this book to all readers.
Review of an Advance Reading Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel
Profanity/Language: 2 religious exclamations; 6 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 1 scatological word; 2 anatomical terms.
Violence and Gore: Two instances of men being shot; dead baby depicted; man slammed against wall; recall of torture at orphanage; recall of beating; report of death by landmine; coffin smashed; four reports of bullfighting injuries with gory details; bloody fist fight; exhumation of graves and coffins; bloody slaughterhouse; amputated gangrenous hand; man held by lapel; gun held to head; verbal threat; death of friends and family.
Sex and Nudity: Hand on arm; four instances of hand holding; hand on back twice; nibble on ear; five instances of kissing; two sexual innuendo; hand on male chest; woman sits on man’s lap.
Mature Subject Matter:
Religious, political and socioeconomic conflict; death of family and friends; war; divorce; separation; gender inequality; poverty; child abuse; marriage infidelity; ethics; murder; child trafficking.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Adults smoke and drink various forms of alcohol.