The Glamourous and the Gory – Mexican Gothic is a Gem

“‘Noemí, just because there are no ghosts it doesn’t mean you can’t be haunted. Nor that you shouldn’t fear the haunting. You are too fearless.'”

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

In Summary of Mexican Gothic

In this spine-chilling Gothic novel, the reader is immediately immersed into Noemí’s glamorous, 1950’s life in urban Mexico. However, her life is soon to become less glitzy. Early in the story, she is sent to High Place – a neglected mansion in the Mexican countryside – to care for her cousin who is showing signs of mental instability. Noemí quickly discovers that her cousin’s delirium is a shared experience for the other inhabitants of the house. In order to save herself and those she cares about, she must uncover the truths hidden in the history and walls of High Place before they are stuck to rot there forever.

Warning: Terrifying scenes and imagery; violence; sexual assault

PositivesNegatives
Female protagonist is independent and determinedProtagonist’s personality is not always likeable
Strong elements of Gothic literatureProtagonist’s cousin is underdeveloped, so our connection to her is lacking
The climax is effectively intense

She was trapped between competing desires, a desire for a more meaningful connection and the desire to never change. She wished for eternal youth and endless merriment.

The Review

Mexican Gothic lived up to the hype for me. It received criticism from many readers for dragging on, but I disagree. Yes, we may not be thrown into action scenes immediately, but the creeping pace deliberately highlights Gothic horror elements along the way. Gothic literature focuses readers on the grotesque and the grim, while also revealing the unsettling beauty of a setting, in order to build suspense and emotion leading up to a grand climax. 

In Mexican Gothic, the supernatural elements were effectively written, and the vibrant details in the climax pack a punch. While I don’t think that the style of writing is complex in this novel, it does make this book the perfect introduction to Gothic horror for readers new to the genre.

The good news for all of you lovers of drama and intensity: there are vivid, at times repulsive, scenes that will give you a thrill. Some are scary, and some strange, but you will overall get your fix of the surreal and frightening. 

Let’s be honest – we all need a bit of excitement during a pandemic.

Noemí, the protagonist, certainly has flaws that make her an unlikeable protagonist sometimes; she is snobby, flirtatious, filled with worldly and frivolous desires. However, this is precisely what Moreno-Garcia has accomplished well: creating a protagonist that is relatable. None of us are perfect, just like fictional characters, okay?

Additionally, Noemí presents a refreshing contrast to classic Gothic literature roles. Her female cousin is in distress and overbearing, tyrannical males threaten, but Noemí takes on the challenge of dismantling expectations by being a heroine facing antagonism. 

And frankly, who doesn’t need another representation of a B.A. lady

This book is well-suited for someone interested in an introduction to Gothic literature, as well as horror and gore. I promise that the slow build-up to the climax is worth it.

Mexican Gothic Book Information

  • Published: 2020
  • ISBN: 9780525620785
  • Format: Hardback (Purchased from Book of the Month)

Learn About & Support the Author – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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