Getting Through with “Mexican Gothic,” A Novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Lifestyle’s Pick of the Week


Editor’s Note: For the next few weeks, the Lifestyle section will be showcasing their favorite podcasts, TV shows, movies, books and more to help UMass students while self-sequestering, quarantining or just to pass the time as COVID continually keeps us indoors. Welcome to Getting Through. 


I recently have gone through a reading resurgence, where I have actually found myself wanting to read for pleasure. Between school and work, I admit the second I am finished for the day all I want to do is watch mindless tv and scroll through Tik Tok, but a few months ago I decided to get back into reading, attempting to break the monotony that is this pandemic. The first book I picked up to try to spark the flame again was “Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I can safely say that it did more than spark the flame; it lit a fire. 

I read this book cover to cover, all 320 pages, in four days. It checked all my boxes; then some. I could have never predicted the dark and downright disturbing twist this novel throws at you, but I won’t spoil it. There’s drama, intrigue, romance, mystery and downright sickening horror. 

The novel’s protagonist Noemi Taboada is a pretty socialite, living the high life in 1950’s Mexico City where she attends luxurious galas with handsome young men on her arm. However, she is not empty-headed; Noemi more than fits the role of a leading lady with her quick wits and charisma, which makes it all the more exciting to root for her as she descends into the madness that is High Place. 

Noemi is sent to High Place by her father when they receive a disturbing letter from Catalina; Noemi’s cousin. Catalina lives with her new husband in their ancestral home in the countryside, a decrepit and decaying mansion with a dark past; present and future. Her mission is to figure out whether or not Catalina needs psychiatric help, but she soon learns something much more sinister is at work here. Something so dark, she is not sure if she will ever leave High Place again. That is, at least not as herself. 

If you are a fan of the recent series “The Haunting of Hill House” or the “Haunting of Bly Manor,” I can assure you that you will enjoy “Mexican Gothic,” as it drips with creepy haunted house overtures, family secrets, tragedy and gore. However, there is also a hint of romance interlaced throughout, if you are looking for a side of love to your main course.  

Mexican Gothic is the perfect genre-bending novel to keep you up reading late into the night. If you are a fan of thrillers, period dramas and mysteries, this novel will keep you page-turning and on the edge of your seat as you wait to read what happens next to Noemi. Not to mention, it’s a fast-paced read with a fairly easy-to-follow plot, which I appreciated as someone who was looking for a total escape while stuck at home, self-isolating. So the next time you’re aimlessly browsing Netflix, unsure of what to watch next, try a more old-fashioned source of entertainment and pick up “Mexican Gothic” at your local bookstore. Just, maybe don’t read it right before you turn the lights off for the night (which I learned the hard way). 


Email Emma Sammuli at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @emma_sammuli

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