Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mexican Gothic

NY: Del Rey, c2020
301 p.

All of the early hype about this book intrigued me, and the idea of a new gothic also appealed -- I do love a good modern gothic. However, be warned that this book is a shade more horror than gothic. I'm not a horror fan, but this was 'horror-lite' so I survived ;) 

Noemi is a modern young woman in Mexico City in the 1950s. But she gets called away from her socialite life by a desperate letter from her cousin Catalina, who'd married the year before and moved to her husband's estate, High Place, far off in the countryside. 

When Noemi arrives to this dark and foreboding, English-style manor house built by Catalina's inlaws -- a family once massively rich due to silver mining but now fading -- she finds that things are suspiciously unsettled, from the rude and unfriendly family to the silent and secretive servants. But from this standard gothic beginning things get even weirder...we have bioluminescent fungus, visions and waking dreams, odd behaviour from everyone in the house, and maybe a ghost? Noemi isn't sure what's happening but it's definitely not what she expected to find. Only her strength of character and indomitable will can save her now. 

I appreciated the unusual setting, and the focus on a different society than usual in these kind of books. The description of Noemi made her not the usual kind of gothic heroine, either. She had far too much gumption and common sense to be a victim. Her cousin was definitely more of the naive and delicate gothic heroine type. Noemi and Catalina recalled Marian and Laura from The Woman in White in rheir respective roles, and like Marian, Noemi pulls them out of the fire. 

I didn't quite love it, as the horror and weirdness was a bit out of my taste range, but I did like a lot of it, and definitely appreciated this take on a classic genre. Worth reading, full of intriguing details and a fresh approach to gothic themes. 


  1. Replies
    1. Ah, yes, not at all obvious! The author lives in Vancouver. The story has nothing at all to do with Canada or Canadian themes.


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