29 Nov / The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys [in Booklist]
L.A.-born, Madrid-raised Maite Jáuregui makes her audiobook debut with one of the year’s most anticipated/lauded/likely to be awarded titles. Jáuregui dominates a sizable cast (Joshua Kane, Robert Petkoff, Oliver Wyman, Richard Ferrone, Neil Hellegers, Liza Kaplan), while her co-stars take turns momentarily interrupting chapters with mini-performances of political memos, society copy, oral histories, and more. That primary-source material provides both context and gravitas to Ruta Sepetys’ latest stupendous, historical novel – set mostly in 1957 Madrid, Spain, where Franco’s regime holds brutal power.
Jáuregui remains the primary cipher as she channels Dallas oil heir and photojournalist-hopeful Daniel, his family’s hotel attendant Ana, her older brother Rafa, and their cousin Puri. While Jáuregui’s bilingual fluency is evident throughout, her choice of accents doesn’t quite ring true: she struggles unevenly with the Texas drawl, but most notably, sounds clumsy overlaying pronounced accents on native Spanish speakers conversing with each other.
Discomforts aside, Sepetys’ spectacular narrative overshadows any faulty direction; that she reads her illuminating afterword about writing as an outsider looking in further ensures going aural as the preferred reading choice.
Reader: Young Adult, Adult