Inferno is the memoir of a young mother who is separated from her newborn son and husband when she's involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward in New Jersey after a harrowing bout of postpartum psychosis.
She writes powerfully about the disorienting shift in her sense of self ... Inferno contains excerpts from a notebook Cho kept during her hospitalisation, while she was still uncertain how she came to be there and how best to be released ... Given that becoming a mother is haloed with sentimentality for too many people, Cho is courageous in sharing her harrowing descent into postpartum psychosis. With its clear-eyed view of how a family’s cultural expectations can torment a well-educated, cosmopolitan woman giving birth for the first time, Inferno is a welcome addition to the small and growing shelf of memoirs where...women tell true stories of the often overwhelming cost of bringing a child into the world.
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 ... This is a highly accomplished memoir. Cho deftly weaves the strands of her experience to create something striking and original. It is also a love story.
Inferno is a brilliantly frightening memoir about Cho’s two weeks on the psychiatric ward, elegantly interwoven with tales from her past ... Insights of this kind are rarely explicit. Cho’s language is poetically associative and points are made through suggestive juxtaposition. Fragmentary structures can feel merely fashionable, but here it feels hard won ... one of the book’s most compelling suggestions is that even ordinary motherhood resembles psychosis ... among the book’s strengths is its bravery in admitting that the 'fierce, possessive affection' she feels for her baby is very different from the kind of in‑love feeling she expected.