Mexican Gothic

Hardcover, 301 pages

English language

Published June 30, 2020 by Del Rey.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes this reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico--and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside, unsure what she will find. Noemí is an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and not afraid: not of her cousin’s new English husband, a stranger who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. …

2 editions

Gothic horror + biting satire of colonisers

5 stars

This ended up being the third of 4 stories I read this year that were all variations on the Fall of the House of Usher (including the original), and I think it's my favourite. The slow pace with which the protagonist (and by extension us the readers) learn what exactly is up with the house felt realistic and made for great tension because there's such a long period in which it's clear that something is Very Wrong but not what it is. And along the way Moreno-Garcia gets in some choice digs about what colonisers are and do, including to themselves and each other. Deliciously gruesome.

#SFFBookClub May 2023

Mexican Gothic

4 stars

It was interesting to read this book so soon after reading What Moves the Dead. I can see why Ursula Vernon wrote about it in her afterword as being a similar setup and recommended that everybody go read it immediately.

The book itself is immensely creepy and I found it very compelling. The plot setup is that socialite Noemí is asked by her powerful father to go investigate what's going on with her cousin Catalina's marriage in an isolated rural mansion. The creepy atmosphere is spectacularly well done: a decrepit remote mansion, very little electricity, locked windows, strange dreams, family secrets, suspicious local history, the overly strict housekeeper with too many rules (silence! no hot baths! no coffee!), also the household's obsession with eugenics and "superior races".

The book's pacing was excellent for me. There is a slow build of mystery and unexplainable occurrences. Backstory is slowly revealed, but there's …

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  • English literature