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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
Those who enjoy interesting, somewhat mystical novels that aren’t extremely fantastical.

In a nutshell:
Noemí Taboada has been asked by her father to visit her cousin Catalina, who is newly married and living in a giant home in the Mexican countryside. She’s sent a worrying letter, so Noemí is off to investigate and see if Catalina needs help.

Worth quoting:
“A woman who is not liked is a bitch, and a bitch can hardly do anything; all avenues are closed to her.”

Why I chose it:
This was a Christmas gift from my bestie in Seattle. She knows me well.

Review:
I’ve seen so many reviews of this book pop up, but I’ve not read any of them, and I’m glad, because I remained completely unspoiled. To avoid spoilers for anyone reading this review, I’ll just offer some thoughts on the experience of reading the book.

First of all, the book is a pretty literal metaphor for the dangers of colonialism, and author Moreno-Garcia does a great job of weaving all the problems of it through the book. From how it impacts the town and those who encounter this family, to the family itself. It is a rot.

The writing itself is so beautiful and vivid. I read the first chapter in a room where my partner was watching TV, and I had to finish it in a separate part of our apartment because the language and story demanded my full attention. I read the first 25% of the book over a couple of days, but read the final two thirds in basically one sitting, and I highly recommend that approach. Some aspects are deeply disturbing, and some parts are extremely frustrating, but I think the book benefits from taking it all in at once as much as possible.

The characters in the book were all interesting, especially Noemí. She seems to take herself none too seriously, and is okay with others mostly not taking her that seriously either, but as the novel progresses she sees the responsibilities she has to her cousin and herself, and takes those duties to heart. She has an end goal, and is willing to do what it takes to get there. She needs help and is open to it, though, and I appreciate that.

I don’t think I’ve really read a book like this before, but I’d be happy reading more.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend and Donate it

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