A few years ago, my reading tendencies started drifting from non-fiction, histories and biographies towards a heavier dose of Sci-fi and Fantasy. As most newcomers do, I sought out a list of ‘must-reads’ in those genres, tearing through space operas and multiple-volume high fantasy epics. However, one of the authors I had not yet devoured during my literary escapades was Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and that my friends, is my own damn fault.
Her latest, Mexican Gothic, came highly recommended and is where I start my affair with Moreno-Garcia’s writing. Set in 1950’s Mexico, Mexican Gothic is the tale of Noemi Taboada, a socialite, heiress and headstrong bon vivant who is thrust into an intoxicating, hallucinogenic, thrilling, and undeniably creepy fight for survival while visiting her cousin, Catalina.
Without ruining too much, Noemi is aware that something is wrong with Catalina and her new family as soon as she arrives at High Place (ancestral home of Catalina’s husband), a decrepit relic of a mansion that once stood proudly, but has since fallen into disrepair. The house is a physical manifestation of wealth and status once attained, yet now decaying, damp, dark and foreboding. The inhabitants are full of secrets, much like the vast interior of High Place itself.
Moreno-Garcia’s prose is styled to the T. Whether describing Noemi’s cocktail dress or the lost-in-time atmosphere of High Place, the details pop, the colors shine brilliantly, and the drabness is as drab as drab can get. However, it wasn’t until about halfway through reading Mexican Gothic that I noticed there was a hidden, stronger aspect of her writing. It was subtly yet directly influencing my mood, and my heart rate. You’ll realize how truly fascinating this is the further you dive into Mexican Gothic and discover the hidden depths of High Place and the Doyle family history.
Fantastical, pulse-raising, and beautifully presented, Mexican Gothic has it all.
Review by Joel
Mexican Gothic is in stock at the bookstore, you can order it online or call us at (505) 988-4226.