Mexican Gothic is a horror genre novel by author Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Set in 1950s Mexico, it follows the protagonist Noemi, a socialite who is tasked by her father to find her estranged cousin who hasn’t been since by the family since her wedding to her English husband. Noemi travels to the mountainside Doyle Family home in the fictional El Triunfo (Spanish for The Triumph). Once arriving, Noemi immediately senses that something is off in this house. A dilapidated and isolated mansion covered in grime and a strange mold, she knows that it is hiding something sinister. The environment is oppressive in more ways than one and she, as a native Mexican, does not belong here.
At Doyle Manor, we are introduced to Catalina, Noemi’s cousin, who has become a shell of her former self during her marriage; Virgil, Catalina’s husband who carries a dangerous energy; Francis, the kind and gentler Doyle who is the only Spanish speaking family member; Francis’ mother Florence, a strange woman who is oddly protective of Catalina; and Howard, the perpetually decayed patriarch of the Doyle family.
Filled with multiple twists, a touch of magical realism and the fantastical, Moreno-Garcia implores you to suspend your reality while also recognizing the thematic uses of colonialism, racism, and race-horse theory. I only gave it 4/5 stars because the ending seemed a bit rushed, but overall this was a solid novel and a definite page turner. I burned through this book in one day.