Grace M. Cho discusses her latest book, Tastes Like War, which was a nonfiction finalist for the 2021 National Book Award. Part memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War offers a hybrid text about a daughter’s search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother’s schizophrenia. In conversation with Emma Ito.
This program is presented in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States.
“Grace M. Cho’s memoir richly braids Korean meals, memories of a mother fighting racism and the onset of schizophrenia, and references ranging from Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the essays of Ralph Ellison.” —Vanity Fair
“An exquisite commemoration and a potent reclamation.” —Booklist (starred review)
“As a member of the complicated postwar Korean diaspora in the US, I have been waiting for this book all my life. Tastes Like War is, among other things, a series of revelations of intergenerational trauma in its many guises and forms, often inextricable from love and obligation. Food is a complicated but life-affirming thread throughout the memoir, a deep part of Grace and her mother’s parallel journeys to live with autonomy, dignity, nourishment, memory, and love.” —Sun Yung Shin, author of Unbearable Splendor