📚 Finished reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Rich young partygirl Noemi - more used to the 1950s Mexico City socialite scene than anything more gothic in nature - is persuaded to go see what’s up with her recently-married cousin Catalina after receiving a strange letter from her claiming that she’s being poisoned and that her very house is filled with “these restless dead, these ghosts, fleshless things”.

No-one is takes these weird haunted house claims literally, although sure enough when she turns up the house is a big old isolated mansion, very creepy, rotting away, covered by mold and fungus. She meets a few inhabitants who are a bit weird, in similarly creepy, slightly stereotypical, ways.

But what about her previously well-adjusted cousin? Is she really being poisoned? Does she suffer from some malady, whether of the physical or mental realm? Or is her “I see dead people” (in walls) claim somehow the truth? Well, I’m obviously not going to spoil that. Other than to say that what goes down is a bit grotesque in places, but suitably so.

If one wants to read a little more deeply and generally into the tale, there are obvious callouts to themes of female disempowerment, the colonisation mindset, the absolute exploitation of people deemed lesser than the (once) rich and powerful who have somehow managed to delude themselves into believing in their own innate superiority.

The house is a character unto itself, dark and isolating. Insanity - if that’s what it is? - confusion and disorientation prevail, with an increasing sense of dread. Many of the mainstays of gothic literature are to be found. But even without the political analysis, I found it a compelling and creepy read.

Cover of Mexican Gothic