Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

by Author Michelle Zauner (Author)

From the indie rock star of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian-American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band - and meeting the man who would become her husband - her Korean-ness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was 25, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and enjoy many times.

In her poignant and unexpectedly funny memoir, "Crying in H Mart," Michelle Zauner weaves together her experience of losing her mother to cancer with the story of her Korean American identity. Through tender and intimate storytelling, Zauner explores the complexities of grief, family dynamics, and the powerful connection between food and memory.

Zauner's narrative seamlessly blends personal anecdotes with vivid descriptions of Korean cuisine, creating a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and assimilation. Each chapter centers around a specific Korean dish, from the comfort of her mother's homemade kimchi to the comforting warmth of tteokbokki. As she delves into the intricacies of these culinary treasures, Zauner uncovers the hidden stories and traditions that have shaped her life.

With candor and introspection, Zauner reflects on the tumultuous relationship she had with her mother, navigating the cultural divide that often separated them. She delves into her own feelings of inadequacy and the struggle to balance her Korean heritage with her American upbringing. Through her journey of self-discovery, Zauner comes to a deeper understanding of her mother's sacrifices, the strength of her family's bond, and the resilience of the immigrant experience.

"Crying in H Mart" is a deeply moving and insightful exploration of loss, identity, and the enduring power of love. Michelle Zauner's skillful storytelling and poignant reflections resonate with universal themes, making this memoir a captivating and unforgettable read. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of family and the ways in which food, culture, and memory intertwine to shape our lives.

Ultimately, "Crying in H Mart" is a celebration of life, love, and the interconnectedness of human experience. It is a reminder that even in the face of grief, there is beauty to be found in the memories we carry with us and the stories we share.


April 20, 2021