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Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3231813,436 (3.73)175
"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--
  1. 40
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Anonymous user)
  2. 20
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Mimilly40)
  3. 21
    The Changeling by Victor LaValle (TooBusyReading)
    TooBusyReading: Both involve some horror and creepiness, but I like The Changeling more than I liked Mexican Gothic.
  4. 01
    The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow (Horishny95)
    Horishny95: I enjoyed Mexican Gothic very much. Would recommend this for those who like revenge.
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» See also 175 mentions

English (178)  Italian (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (181)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
Oh, man! The writing and the story are so good! I wasn't prepared for how creepy it got; it was so gradual in the building. ( )
  JudyGibson | Jan 26, 2023 |
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is, as the name suggests, a modern take on the gothic novel. The story stars Noemi Taboada, a young socialite in 1950s Mexico City. She is the daughter of the owner of a paint and dye company, so her family is quite wealthy. She spends her days waffling on what her masters will be in, playing the piano, and choosing new male friends to take her to parties. She is headstrong, defiant, quick-witted, and insightful. She is a strong protagonist, but she often butts up against the standards for women in the 1950s.
Her father sends her to go check in on her cousin, Catalina. Catalina had recently married Virgil Doyle, an English out-of-towner, after a whirlwind romance. After moving away she dropped communication with the rest of her family until she sends a disturbing letter. The letter claims that she hears voices, that the Doyles are trying to kill, and other properly gothic novel-themed issues. Another letter soon follows sent by Virgil Doyle explaining that Catalina has tuberculosis. Thus, Noemi is sent out to figure out what is actually going on and either get Catalina the help she needs or bring her home.
What follows at the Doyles’ ancestral home, “High Place,” is a classic gothic tale. There is toxic love, innocents with dark secrets, ladies dying of a mysterious illness, and a hint of the supernatural. If you have ever read a gothic novel, the overall shape of the story will seem familiar. There’s even a sort of love triangle between Noemi, the dangerous bad boy, and the decent, awkward guy.
I did love the protagonist, Noemi. She is proactive, which is seemingly rare in these types of tales. She doesn’t back down from conflict, whether interpersonal or supernatural. Also, as a reader I never found myself yelling, “Just run!” or “Don’t go in there!” Everything she did make sense for her character.
I also loved the setting. This is 1950s Mexico. They are still dealing with their history of Revolutions. The poverty of the rural areas is a constant background feature. The Doyles are a formally wealthy English family, and their racist views on the Mexican people and their role in the local village are central to the plot. Racial tension and classism for the foundation of the tale and allow the reader insight into the struggles of Mexico.
Most importantly, Moreno-Garcia has succeeded in writing a gothic novel. The story does not look out of place amongst such gothic novels as “Wuthering Heights” or “The Mysteries of Udolpho.” The author has captured what it means to be a gothic novel perfectly. The mood, the tone, the characters, and the underlying horror is a prime gothic novel.
However, there is one flaw for me. Noemi is a wonderful character with lots of depth, but in my opinion, she is the only one. Other characters feel rather flat and seem to just fill in needed tropes. Here is the alluring, evil scion of the family. There is the sad, nice guy. The cousin, whose letters kickstarted the plot, is just there. We are told what her character is like, but we saw it.
If you can look past that, though, then you are in for a wild ride. The mystery of what is actually going on will keep you reading “just one more chapter.” A definite read for anyone who loves the works of Poe or the Bronte sisters.
( )
  The_Book_Kaiju | Jan 16, 2023 |
This was a quick read, but the style of narration gave it a feel of a slow-paced, creeper of a classic gothic novel. Set in the 1950s, young Noemi Taboada is urged by her father to check on her newlywed cousin on a distant estate. The wedding had been almost too quick to be decent and not much was known about the groom's family except that they likely had less money than they were once used to. A letter has arrived full of ramblings and makes Noemi's father concerned for Catalina's well-being, but a scandal as well. Noemi is worried about her cousin Catalina, who helped raise her after Noemi's mother's death, but has also been incentivized with the promise of being allowed to get a master's degree at the University.

High Place, the lonely estate, was built to emulate an old English estate and set as it is among the cold, misty mountains Noemi feels immediately isolated. The house is run-down, damp and cluttered with tarnished silver artifacts and ancestral portraits from across the ocean.

I could not put this down when I picked it up. I ended up staying up far too late so I could finish it. A very surprising novel. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Jan 6, 2023 |
This book is an intense, beautiful monster of a novel. Moreno-Garcia's gothic plot is as sharp as a razor and twice as dangerous. Like any good terror, I couldn’t look away. Lush and lyrical writing makes this a vivid, seductive read. The gothic framework is PERFECT for the faded Mexican mining town setting and Noemi is as sharp, stubborn and vividly painted gothic heroine as one could ask for. (Bonus: the dresses! I loved how unapologetically feminine Noemi was to boot.)

I'm never looking at mushrooms the same way again, just sayin'. ( )
  ajhackwith | Jan 3, 2023 |
A good thing to realize about this book before reading is that it’s pop fiction. I think this would have been better off being branded a YA novel, given the simplicity and repetitiveness of the writing; however even then, rarely have I encountered more repetitive writing than this when reading YA. I don’t understand why the phrase “newel post,” which has nothing to do with the plot and which I have never heard before in my life, was repeated numerous times, when the world was so creative and expansive. I also felt like I was being hit over the head with the snake symbolism, despite that symbolism being murky, even to the point of the narrator saying they could interpret it a few different ways.

The main character was strong-willed yet completely docile and, while I’d love to think this was a nuanced character who is at times either or both things, the character instead felt disjointed. Her friendship with Francis was nice and felt well developed, though. I didn’t find the book very spooky but I thought the body horror stuff was pretty effective. Mostly I was frustrated with how easily she could’ve, er, resolved the situation many different times. I didn’t feel like the story gave enough of a reason for her to not, especially given her commitment to her cousin.

It was fun to read and quick to get through, and the imagery was pretty great. I didn’t feel scared while reading or anything. If you enjoy horror like I do, not sure this will get to you like its likely inspirations, The Yellow Wallpaper and Haunting of Hill House. ( )
  ostbying | Jan 1, 2023 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Moreno-Garcia, Silviaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corzo, FrankieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Green, TimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scocchera, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Para mi madre
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The parties at the Tuñóns' house always ended unquestionably late, and since the hosts enjoyed costume parties in particular, it was not unusual to see Chinas Poblanas with their folkloric skirts and ribbons in their hair arrive in the company of a harlequin or a cowboy.
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"The acclaimed author of Gods of Jade and Shadow returns with a darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico"--

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