Another View on Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

4 Aug

Mexican Gothic involves a young woman, Noemi Taboada, who is sent by her father to check on the welfare of her cousin Catalina. Catalina has married into a family living in a decrepit mansion in a part of Mexico that is damp and misty and creepy. Catalina sent a letter to Noemi’s dad that leads them to question her physical and mental state. It all takes place in the early 50s.

Every gothic novel has to have some of these elements: the creepy mansion with a name (High Place), the weird social/familial relationships, the haunting aspects. Check, check, check.

What makes this novel so interesting is the strongly feminist Noemi, who is pretty feisty for a woman back in the early 50s. She is willing to stand up to the weirdness demonstrated by Catalina’s new family, and try to save her cousin, all the while you sense she is in increasing danger from…….well, you don’t know exactly what, and neither does Noemi. But you knew there was going to be trouble when the family totem depicts a snake swallowing its own tail.

Noemi won’t obey the rules of the house that she is expected to follow. She suffers nightmares, and sleepwalks. She hears voices. She can’t trust her own senses. She is isolated and repulsed (you will be too!) by the wetness, mold, and mildew that surrounds her.

While not a fan of the horror genre in general, I ended up really enjoying this book. It was well written, suspenseful, and weaves in some wider horror — societal horror — to boot.

Mexican Gothic is available in print from BCCLS, in eBook from eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ, and as audiobook from eLibraryNJ and eBCCLS. You can also read a previous blog post written by one of my colleagues about this fantastic book.

Written by:
Victoria Turk
Reference Librarian

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