Grace M. Cho
A professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, and author of an award-winning scholarly work, Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War, Grace M. Cho virtually returns to her Pacific Northwest roots - and Elliott Bay - this evening, to read from and discuss her excellent new memoir, Tastes Like War (The Feminist Press). This is a memoir, written from various perspectives, of hard-won coming into age in Chehalis as the daughter of a White American merchant marine and the young Korean woman he met, as she worked as a bar hostess.
“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.
“What are the ingredients for madness? Grace M. Cho’s sui generis memoir of her mother’s schizophrenia plumbs the effects of colonialism, war, and violence on a Korean American family. By learning to cook her mother’s favorite childhood dishes, Cho comes to break bread with the numerous voices haunting her ‘pained spirit.’ Cho’s moving and frank exploration examines how the social gets under our skin across vast stretches of space and time, illuminating mental illness as a social problem as much as a biological disease.” —David L. Eng.