The Lit Club: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia



[Image description: Book Cover for Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It features a darker-skinned woman, wearing a red, off shoulders dress and holding a bouquet of yellow, wilting flowers. Both the name of the book and the name of the author are in white.]

Edited by Kseniia Gridneva



Hello, bookworms! For this month's Lit Club we decided to do a read along. Kseniia and Meg got to read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and talk about it. Enjoy!

 

If you want to read our most recent edition click here or all of our archived editions, click here

 

If you’d like to join Lit Club or suggest any books/genres/themes, drop us a message on our Instagram



Discussion questions provided by the random house books book club kit

1. How did you feel about the historical period and setting the book takes place in? 

Kseniia: I didn’t think much of it, as most of it felt to just be used to set the gothic vibe for the book. Yes, there are no phones and Noemi isn’t supposed to be doing much but looking for a husband, but then she does end up studying, and her family, although not supportive, accepts it. The same goes for everything in the book, it is very modern in how we view the world but set in the 1950s. I think it would work better if it was just set in our time, as all the horror of racism and silencing of mental health can still be found today. 


Meg: I personally didn't feel much of a connection with the book being set in Mexico. With the Doyle family being of English heritage, it did give the sense of it being set in the English countryside which maybe would have worked better overall. The details that were provided to us about Noemí could've also worked had she been a socialite from London or New York, the only real link between Mexico were the parts where Noemí and Francis spoke Spanish to one another and of course the author's nationality. 

2. What did you think of the main character, Noemi? 

Kseniia: I liked her well enough, I think we could be friends if we met in real life. Noemi is very stubborn and strong-willed, and it really shows how she perseveres even after the happenings at Doyle's house become almost comedically insane. There are multiple ways of being strong and she definitely is, but I would love for her to shoot the patriarch of the Doyle family. As a treat.


Meg: I loved her! I am such a sucker for a strong female lead and I feel like Noemí was perfect. I especially loved her witty comebacks towards the men and Florence in particular. In the end, she wasn’t a ‘final girl’ but a strong-willed heroine, which was brilliant.

3. Who was your favourite character and why? 

Kseniia: Ooh, for me it's a toss between Francis and Virgil. I loved both of them for completely different reasons, but they both work so well in their respective roles. We don’t know what they are thinking or feeling, as we do with Noemi, and it gives both of them a certain mystique. Does Virgil actually want to help his wife or is he a creep? Is Francis really taken by Noemi or is he a sympathetic double agent? Looking for subtleties in their dialogue and behaviour definitely made me more excited for their scenes.


Meg: I don’t think I really felt any favouritism towards a certain character. Overall I felt like most of the main characters were extremely unlikeable but in a good way. Although there were some quite horrible themes [TW: incest & sexual assault], I do think Florence was a really good nasty character. I’d actually love to see who they would cast for her if Mexican Gothic got film rights.

4. How did you feel about the relationship between Noemi and Francis? 

Kseniia: It was so predictable. But it was also sweet and a sort of forbidden in the beginning. With all the half-truths about the family and Francis being such a romantic. I wish we could see more hesitation on his part though. Make us as readers doubt his motives more. 


Meg: It was lovely but extremely predictable. From the moment we meet them, or even before just reading that blurb on the back of the book, you KNOW. But I did like them. The outgoing girl and the shy guy. Very cute in the land of misery.

5. What did you think about the ending? What do you wish had been different? 

Kseniia: I think it ended very neatly, even Noemi’s cousin got to play her role. I only wished we knew the stakes earlier. Because the first time you read the ending, it is just a very satisfying blur.


Meg: I liked it. I don’t see how it could’ve ended any other way.

6. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? How well do you think she got it across? 

Kseniia: I am not sure? Was it that preservation of old money is bad? Rich English families are creepy? I think it was just a very fun spin on a gothic novel for me, nothing more.


Meg: lol I don’t even know what she’s trying to say by writing this book. Is she ok?? 

maybe she’s just telling folk to not eat mushrooms in which case, I agree…

7. What did you enjoy most about this book? What did you enjoy the least? What changes to the story, if any, would you make? 

Kseniia: Oh I loved the weird fantasy mushroom route the story went. It was a great spin on the usual ghosts filled manor, and it even managed to make it creepier. I only wish we knew the stakes about halfway through the book? Maybe it is just me being slow, but when everything was spelt out for Noemi (and me) I wanted another full-length book but instead, I got the ending. 


Meg: I really liked the fact that I had no idea where it was going. I was about halfway through thinking ok I know where it’s going. 65% in, PLOT TWIST. 

I don’t hate it, but I would’ve liked a more likely scenario, maybe with some kind of legit hallucinogenic mushrooms that cause visions, instead of the strange fantasy route it went down. 

I also really did like the writing style.

8. Would you read a sequel to this story? Would you prefer it to feature Noemi and Francis, or would you prefer a story in the same world with new characters?  

Kseniia: Not a sequel, but I would love to read about another family similar to Doyles. Maybe even with a different plant/creature as a culprit? Didn’t I read somewhere that Backward-aging jellyfish can live forever?


Meg: I’d love to read a prequel, more about Howard Doyle and how it all came to be. I don’t think Noemí and Francis’s story needs to go any further, but a new family in the same world might be interesting.

9. If you were interviewing the author, what questions would you have for her?

Kseniia: I would just like to know what brought her from pretty realistic writing before to sci-fi/fantasy elements. And how she came up with them. Because whoo boy, they were fun and reinvigorated the book for me.


Meg: I feel like my first and main question would be about her inspiration as I know her book is heavily inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’. Whilst reading Mexican Gothic I really felt the similarities between the two books, especially in the atmospheric writing. The descriptions of the creepy house I felt were absolutely perfect and really set the scene. 

10. So what are our scores?

Kseniia: 4 stars. Would be 3 if not for the sheer insanity that was the ending. I loved it.


Meg: 3 stars from me! Overall I liked it, but I was left rather stunned by the plot twist. My actual Goodreads review was “What in the fresh hell did I just read” which I think sums it up perfectly. 



This playlist, curated by the author, will transport you to the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place. Listen on Spotify at

https://spoti.fi/2yHyItz


1. “Black Walls” by Chromatics 

2. “Eyes Without a Face” by Marsheux 

3. “Girls Just Wanna Have Some” by Chromatics 

4. “The Killing Moon” by Echo & the Bunnymen 

5. “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” by Bryan Ferry 

6. “Digital Versicolor” by Glass Candy 

7. “Shadow” by Chromatics 

8. “Passion of Lovers” by Bauhaus 

9. “Wicked Game” by Ursine Vulpine, Annaca 

10. “Blue Wings” by Wild Nothing 

11. “Shadowplay” by Joy Division 

12. “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” by Martyn Lenoble, Christian Eigner 

13. “Goodbye Horses” by Psyche 

14. “TOY” by Chromatics 

15. “Journal of Ardency” by Class Actress 

16. “Tainted Love” by Marilyn Manson 

17. “She’s Gone Away” by Nine Inch Nails 

18. “Bonbon (Johnny Jewel Remix)” by Lou Rebecca, Johnny Jewel 

19. “Tell Me Where It Hurts” by Garbage 

20. “Tear You Apart” by She Wants Revenge 

21. “She’s Lost Control” by Joy Division 

22. “Saturday” by Desire