Review: “Mexican Gothic”

Mexican Gothic, written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, is a “gothic suspense novel,” set in 1950s Mexico. When I first saw this book in a bookstore, I was intrigued by the cover, the title, the setting. This might just be the stupid American in me, but I know absolutely nothing about Mexico in the 1950s, and I needed to know more.

We follow Noemí, an educated and spirited young socialite who’s been summoned to the High Place, which is the home of the Doyles, the family her cousin Catalina recently married into. The Doyles are strange; originally hailing from England, the family moved to Mexico to profit off of a silver mine, but were left in their house to rot after the silver ran out.

Catalina claims her husband is poisoning her, but the Doyles claim that she is just stressed due to tuberculosis. Is Catalina going mad? Can Noemí trust the Doyles? And what’s up with the weird dreams Noemí’s been having since she came to High Place?

Moreno-Garcia sets up a suspense-filled thriller in Mexican Gothic, with engaging characters and deeply disturbing twists. The atmosphere of the house in this book is enough to rival The Haunting of Hill House, and Moreno-Garcia’s masterful use of prose is reminiscent of Shirley Jackon’s. If you’re a fan of haunted houses, mystery, and beautiful stories, I highly recommend Mexican Gothic for this year’s Halloween season.