Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Canadian writer

Silvia Moreno-Garcia (born 25 April 1981) is a Mexican and Canadian novelist, short story writer, editor, and publisher.


  • Noemí’s father said she cared too much about her looks and parties to take school seriously, as if a woman could not do two things at once.
    • Mexican Gothic (2020)
  • when you come to places like Mexico and other states that were colonized, that question of race becomes very interesting because there's obviously a lot of race-mixing going on in these nations. And so it's not the same sort of eugenics that they're handling in Great Britain, where there is this great anxiety about miscegenation. It's a little bit different. It's still highly racist, but it's not exactly the same kind of thought process that is going on. And I just always found it so interesting how Europeans view the colonies as a space of fear, because it is that space where people are coming together and mixing.
  • I don’t think many people realize what it’s like to be a maid, what it’s like to be poor, and to literally have zero opportunities in life. My great-grandmother was always depending on family taking her in. When she was depressed, she referred to herself as an “arrimada,” which is hard to translate but it’s almost like saying a parasite. She thought she was nothing, a parasite…
  • Telling is a component of many cultures and it’s certainly present in many classics of Latin American literature. Modern American literature doesn’t seem to value telling as much as it once did or as much as other cultures still do. It’s seen as a sign of gracelessness. But of course, folklore is spoken, and there are benefits of telling rather than showing…
  • Growing up in Mexico, we didn't have a dividing line between the fantastical and the literary, like you do in Canada, so it bled through. Therefore, my writing bleeds through categories and I enjoy the challenge of changing constantly, like molting out of a book.
  • It's probably a lot better to imagine that you can deal with vampires and witches, because at least those, there's some ways to combat them. When you're talking about humans, there are no certain remedies for dealing with a band of roving soldiers.
  • Thematically, I like to write quiet stories. I’m not a bang-bang kind of writer. I love, love Shirley Jackson. Stuff that is slow and builds up layer by layer. Sometimes my mother makes fun of me because of that. She’d rather that I have more shooting and spaceships going woooosh.
  • People love to classify things as black and white, good or bad, but I’ve seldom met any one who can be neatly defined and classified…
  • It’s never as fun seeing the monster as much as imagining.
  • I am partial to quiet, slow, psychologically intricate work.
  • Magic realism once referred to the literary style of a loosely connected group of Latin American authors who penned works some 60 years ago, but in the English-speaking world, the term has become synonymous with Latin American writing in general. Picture every work by a British writer being called “Austenesque” today, and you get an idea of this phenomenon.
  • But does it matter what we call Latin American literature? Isn’t a rose by any other name just as sweet? In my experience, it matters because categories create expectations.
  • Categories should not act as straitjackets, and yet the magic realism label has sometimes strangled rather than liberated Latin American literature.
  • In my experience, the term magic realism is often overused and stereotypical, spoken without much thought.
  • I wish we had more nuanced, complex conversations about books. Why can’t we speak in expansive terms about genre and aesthetics? About mood and texture? About things that fit into categories and the ones that defy them?
  • The magic realism conundrum will not be resolved quickly or easily, but I believe a wider selection of books from writers with a Latin American heritage can help move us toward a world in which our vision of this region is vaster and richer. This is happening, albeit slowly.

Interview with Vox (2020)

  • I wasn’t very much interested in what is called gothic romance or a female gothic. I was always more into what is termed the male gothic, which is gothic books that have supernatural elements, graphic violence, and that kind of stuff. Sometimes we also call it gothic horror, as opposed to what we consider to be the female gothic, which is more like Scooby-Doo types of stories. Jane Eyre kinds of tales, in which a young woman goes to a distant location, meets some dude, and then there’s some kind of mystery to unravel. There is a happy ending — that is mostly the desire of that kind of story...It’s a liminal category, the gothic, and this is one side of it. But I was always more into the horror gothic. Into the Draculas of the world and the Carmillas.
  • I think one of the problems that happens with representations of — well, I’ll say with Mexicans, but in general with Latin Americans — is that we only get one type of story told. In general, the type of story that you get if you’re Latin American and you’re reading something in the English language — because it’s different if you’re reading Spanish fiction — you don’t get any genre fiction at all. The stories that you can tell are very limited. Normally they limit you to the suffering illegal immigrant.
  • when we think about Mexican people, when we think about Latin American people. We don’t imagine them having full and interesting lives in the same way that we imagine white people having full and interesting lives. But they did...there’s all these nuances that get lost sometimes when you read these stories about us. And in every story that I write, I want to bring a little bit of that.
  • white supremacy is like a horrible, dangerous cult, and like an infection. And it doesn’t just harm — I mean, it harms people of color definitely. Certainly African American people, Latinos, when somebody tries to hurt them, they are the most harmed. But I think it also harms the white people within. It’s a dangerous kind of place, I think, white supremacy. And if you get into it, you really start losing touch with reality, and it’s almost like you’re the member of a suicidal cult to me.
  • Gothic has this slow, moody, syrupy sort of pace. That is what gives gothic its shape.

Gods of Jade and Shadow (2019)

  • "Words are seeds, Casiopea. With words you embroider narratives, and the narratives breed myths, and there's power in the myth. Yes, the things you name have power."
  • He'd fallen in love slowly and quietly, and it was a quiet sort of love, full of phrases left unsaid, laced with dreams.
  • There was sadness in her, of course, but she didn't wish to crack like fine china either. She could not wither away. In the world of the living, one must live. And had this not been her wish? To live. Truly live.
  • In her spare time, she looked to books or the stars for company.
  • Mortals have always been frightened of the night's velvet embrace and the creatures that walk in it, and yet they find themselves mesmerized by it.
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