November 29, 2021 8:15 AM EST

Award-winning sociologist Grace M. Cho blends intimate personal history and probing anthropological investigation in her new memoir. A National Book Award finalist, Tastes Like War centers on Cho’s relationship with—and her desire to better understand—her late mother, who experienced the onset of schizophrenia when Cho was just 15 years old. She learns to cook the Korean food her mother ate as a child, and uses the meals as an entry into reflections on her upbringing. Cho seems equally comfortable writing from a place of intimacy as she is writing from a critical distance, and she seamlessly joins heartrending memories with broad cultural, linguistic and political analysis.

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