After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find — her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family's once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. (From Del Rey Books)
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a Canadian author, who was born and raised in Mexico. She is also the author of the novels Signal to Noise, which won the 2016 Copper Cylinder Award, Gods of Jade and Shadow and The Beautiful Ones. She is also a critic and has edited science fiction anthologies.
- The CBC Books fall 2020 reading list
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- Why Silvia Moreno-Garcia likes to write genre-bending novels
- 60 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in fall 2020
- The best Canadian fiction of 2020
- 14 Canadian sci-fi and fantasy books to check out in summer 2021
"The main character, Noemi, was inspired by a couple of things. One of them was a photo of my great aunt. She's at a party. She's wearing a 1950s-era dress and she's looking over her shoulder.
"She's sitting with a young man. The way the photo was taken and the way it's framed, your eye goes directly onto her face. You don't see the man or the other people in the room — you are looking at her and she's looking right back at you. She's very self-assured and poised.
I was looking at what it might have been like to be a young woman of a certain means.
"The other was my maternal grandmother who came from a working class family. My great-grandmother was a maid, and my great-grandfather repaired radios. My grandmother wanted to go and study medicine. But her father torpedoed that idea because he said that if she studied medicine, that would mean going to school with men. Instead, she went to secondary school. It was a suitable occupation for a woman and she needed to contribute to the family's finances.
"On the other side of my family, a couple of paternal great aunts never got married because they came from money and they were able to make different choices. They were unmarried women, they traveled a little bit more and they were able to do other kinds of things and play a little bit of the socialite game.
"I took some stuff from my family and also from just the time period. I was looking at what it might have been like to be a young woman of a certain means."