Inferno
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Inferno : A Memoir

4.3 (106 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

*Observer Book of the Week*
*Harper's Bazaar 10 Women Who Will Shape What You Watch, See and Read in 2020*


'Striking and original' Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times
'Completely devastating. Completely heartbreaking' Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under
'Cho's intense, poignant book exists in a category of its own' i
'A haunting, eloquent evocation of becoming a stranger to yourself' Observer


My psychosis, for all its destruction and wrath, was a love story.

When Catherine left London for the US with her husband James, to introduce her family to their newborn son, she could not have envisaged how that trip would end. Catherine would find herself in an involuntary psych ward in New Jersey, separated from her husband and child, unable to understand who she was, and how she had got there.

It's difficult to know where the story of psychosis begins. Was it the moment I met my son? Or was it decided in the before, something rooted deeper in my fate, generations ago?

In an attempt to hold on to her sense of self, Catherine had to reconstruct her life, from her early childhood, to a harrowing previous relationship, and her eventual marriage to James.

The result is a powerful exploration of psychosis and motherhood, at once intensely personal, yet holding within it a universal experience - of how we love, live and understand ourselves in relation to each other.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 30mm | 404g
  • Bloomsbury Circus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1526619083
  • 9781526619082
  • 60,359

Review quote

This striking story of motherhood and psychosis grips ... One of the many fascinating things about this beautifully written book is that it asks us to consider what counts as normal behaviour and what doesn't ... A highly accomplished memoir. Cho deftly weaves the strands of her experience to create something striking and original -- Cathy Rentzenbrink * The Times * A brilliantly frightening memoir about Cho's two weeks on the psychiatric ward, elegantly interwoven with tales from her past ... [Cho writes] herself into motherhood and into a form of sanity that does not leave behind the insights enabled by psychosis. -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * A courageous and powerful book * Times Literary Supplement * In honest and intricate detail, Inferno traverses between past traumas and present-day experiences * Evening Standard * Utterly brilliant: poetic, truthful, frightening, clever. I held my breath at both the power of the prose and the writer's unflinching honesty -- Christie Watson, author of The Language of Kindness A viscerally raw and startlingly honest account of the author's journey into motherhood. A must-read for those looking to understand one of the darkest corners of the female experience -- Leah Hazard, author of Hard Pushed: A Midwife's Story A powerful and poignant book. The difficult and haunting brutality of both psychosis and relationships was so beautifully and honestly portrayed -- Bev Thomas, author of A Good Enough Mother 'Triumphant' * Cosmopolitan * 'Insightful and shocking' * Stylist * Completely devastating. Completely heartbreaking. Written in luminous, spiralling prose -- Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under A fierce, brave, glittering book that charts with unflinching honesty the shift from one reality to another and the family ghosts that - without always knowing it - we all carry -- Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Compelling and exquisitely written. Catherine Cho's eye-opening memoir took me into a world I knew nothing about. She communicates her experience with such startling clarity, I felt I was right there with her. Exceptional -- Ruth Jones Utterly compelling and beautifully written, Inferno is one of the bravest and most beautiful books I have ever read -- Alice Feeney Inferno does just as the title suggests, it throws you into the flames of the author's psychosis so that you are in there with her, fighting for your next breath. I've rarely read such a powerful account of madness. Gripping, chilling and ultimately hopeful, this is one not to miss -- Lisa Jewell I was hooked from the very start ... It is at heart a love story, but one in which unimaginable, wonderfully depicted, mental torture intrudes. In sharing this pain, and exploring its cultural and other causes, Catherine Cho does a great service to the cause of breaking down stigma surrounding mental ill health ... A beautiful book -- Alastair Campbell
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About Catherine Cho

Catherine Cho gave birth to her son in 2017. Six months later, she would find herself in an involuntary psych ward, separated from her husband and child. Catherine was diagnosed with a rare form of postpartum psychosis that affects 1-2 in 1000 women.

Catherine works in publishing. Originally from the United States, she's lived in New York and Hong Kong, and she currently lives in London.

@Catkcho
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Rating details

106 ratings
4.3 out of 5 stars
5 48% (51)
4 38% (40)
3 11% (12)
2 2% (2)
1 1% (1)
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