Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic

Book - 2020 | First edition
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After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find--her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: She's a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she's also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past.
Publisher: New York : Del Rey, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
Branch Call Number: FICTION MOR
Characteristics: 301 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780525620785


From Library Staff

Full disclosure: my deep affection for this book is inseparable from how much I know my wife would have loved it. She would have loved the atmosphere, the clothes, the suspense, the dialogue, the self-rescuing female characters, the spot-the-references-to-a-couple-centuries-of-Gothic-fiction game... Read More »

This book is a feminist retelling of a gothic story. So if you are a fan of "Jane Eyre" or "Rebecca," you are in for a suspenseful treat. It has an isolated mansion; a chilling, charismatic aristocrat; and a brave socialite, all of them drawn to expose their treacherous secret... Read More »

A re-imagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the hidden secrets of an isolated mansion where her cousin has been ill. This breakout gothic novel channels Du Maurier's "Rebecca" and the Brontes. This title is... Read More »

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LPL_MaryW Jan 11, 2021

Mexican Gothic is a fairytale turned nightmare, perhaps with a nod to Jordan Peele’s Get Out. In 1950’s Mexico, glamorous debutante Noemí receives a mysterious letter from her newlywed cousin Catalina. In frantic prose, she pleads for Noemí to visit her at High Place, the family residence of her husband, an English expat whom she has grown to distrust. Upon her arrival, Noemí finds a dilapidated, mold-ridden mansion on the grounds of a former silver mine with a sickly past, upheld by a eugenicist patriarch whose suffocating surveillance would drive anyone away, if only they could leave. Woven together like a mycelial network, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest features feminist heroism and commentary on colonialism, with language and culture as secret weapons. It’s absolutely delectable.

Jan 07, 2021

I liked this book. The writing was solid and the descriptive and poetic qualities is what made it the more haunting. I understand when people say that they cannot stomach some of the scenes, but they really add to the organic nature of the plot. It's twisted, wicked, seductive, and absolutely gross at certain points. Loved the main character and supporting characters. I only didn't give it a 5 because there was something missing that I can't quite put my finger on

Dec 31, 2020

I had hoped for more with this book. Too many disappointments to list, actually. In addition to just being really grotesque and disturbing, the main character has no development. I made myself finish it in hopes that SOMETHING would redeem it but no- ugh the ending was terrible too. I hope my comment saves someone from wasting their time as I did.

Dec 30, 2020

Looking for redeeming value. Mexican Gothic isn’t written in the vein of a classic. It’s devoid of truth, beauty or artistic quality. The “madness” is creepy, as in repulsive. The “darkness” and mycological reference is a dis to mycelium everywhere. It’s like a B movie, missing the quality of an A game.

Dec 29, 2020

I read close to half of this book before returning it and moving on. It was too dark and brooding for my taste. I'm not sure what I expected... it's a gothic after all, but damn the story was suffocating for me.

JCLCharlesH Dec 23, 2020

Silvia Moreno-Garcia presents a story that draws on the gothic horror traditions, but subverts expectations in fun and unique ways. The atmosphere is suitably dark and foreboding, and despite being vividly described, the body horror elements did not overwhelm. The ending felt perfectly in keeping with the rest of the novel and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Dec 21, 2020

It had the potential to be really good but I was distracted by some of the grotesque scenes. There were also a few spots that were hard to follow. The ending happened too fast and too easy. It was a page-turner and I enjoy reading hyped books and drawing my own opinions, so I'm glad I read it. I was just left disappointed with all that it could have been. The main character was very likable and the love she has for her cousin was endearing and moving.

Dec 18, 2020

I loved the mystery of this story but felt disappointed at the end. Things got wrapped up a bit too quickly and I knew what the main character needed to do serval chapters ahead and was frustrated that the bright strong-minded main character couldn’t figure it out sooner. A good quick read.

Dec 14, 2020

Enjoyed a great deal very dark and I could not put it down it reminded me in the best way of the Haunting of Hill House

Dec 11, 2020

Noemí Taboada is the toast of Mexico City. The beautiful, charming daughter of a wealthy businessman, she’s in demand at every social event. Her parents want her to settle down with a nice young man but she wants to continue her university studies.

Her father calls her home early from a costume party one night and asks her to leave as soon as possible to visit her orphaned cousin, Catalina, whom the family adopted after she lost her parents. Catalina has recently married a relative stranger but Mr. Taboada received a disturbing letter from her that signifies all is not well at her new home. He’s reached out to Catalina’s husband but hasn’t received satisfying responses. He wants Noemí to visit Catalina, assess the situation, and bring her home if necessary.

Full disclosure: I requested Mexican Gothic from the library back in September or October, which is practically the only time of year that I seek out horror and/or Gothic reads. When my turn finally came up in November, I wasn’t necessarily in the mood for this kind of book but I decided to read it anyway and see what all the fuss is about. Had I been in a Gothic mood, I would have enjoyed this more.

I liked Noemí. The bored society girl can be a turnoff for me but Noemí is intelligent and would honestly rather be in classes than at parties. She’s also not selfish and genuinely cares about Catalina as if she were her own sister. When she interacts with people who aren’t in her own social class, she generally treats them with respect rather than as a demanding rich girl. Catalina’s father-in-law is a racist man of English descent who is very obviously interested in eugenics and makes demeaning statements about Noemí’s skin tone and background. She argues about his stances with him and holds her own rather than just meekly submitting to her elders. She keeps pushing for answers even as everyone at this awful house tries to shut her down.

There is a strong Gothic vibe at High Place, the house Catalina now lives in. Florence, Catalina’s sister-in-law/housekeeper, gives off strong malevolent Mrs. Danvers vibes. The three servants never speak. The house is falling apart and covered in mold but it obviously used to be beautiful. A faulty generator is the only source of electricity so mostly everyone wanders around with candles and lamps. No one speaks at meals.

The book builds slowly. Everyone is eccentric but the situation seems straightforward enough when the family doctor explains that Catalina has tuberculosis. As Noemí remains at the house and speaks more with Francis, the only member of the household who will take her seriously, she starts to have more questions. A tuberculosis diagnosis doesn’t explain Catalina’s erratic behavior, nor does it explain Noemí’s growing unease. More odd incidents occur and Noemí starts to have incredibly vivid and disturbing dreams. These dreams (are they dreams?) might be a trigger for some readers. The pace starts to quicken until at the end I was quickly flipping pages to see exactly how this situation was going to resolve itself.

Speaking of resolutions, this one was…odd, in the way that I find Lovecraft’s stories odd. I rolled with it though. While the book is complete in and of itself, I also see room for a sequel. Given the commercial success of Mexican Gothic, I think we can expect one.

Readers who enjoy atmospheric Gothic reads should enjoy this book. It does have some horror elements but they generally weren’t terribly graphic.

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