A vibrant memoir of heritage—cultural, culinary, and otherwise—rediscovered in the wake of a shattering loss.
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Author, Wild Game
“Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart.”
So begins Michelle Zauner’s gripping and beautiful account of how she lost her mother to cancer, and reconnected with her Korean heritage as a way of coping with her profound grief. Crying in H Mart is a breathtakingly moving and sensorial memoir, part portrait of a young woman coming into her own, part love letter to the amazing mother who raised her, all rendered in stunning prose – mouthwatering descriptions of food alongside nuanced depictions of the emotional terrain of loss.
Grief is never predictable, it strikes when it strikes. And in Michelle’s case, it strikes at H Mart (a grocery chain specializing in Asian food), ground zero for both her heartbreak and healing. H Mart is where the sight of dumpling skins transports Michelle to days sitting around the kitchen table, watching her mother fold wrappers around aromatic, minced pork. It’s where Chang Gu honey-cracker rings remind her of happy times when her mother wriggled them on all ten fingers. It’s where a jumble of flavors, aromas and packaging, coupled with a cacophony of familiar dialects, form an unlikely circuit board, connecting Michelle to her mother’s love, a sense of home and an elusive piece of herself, allowing the healing process to begin.
Uplifting, moving, unforgettable – one of the best memoirs of the year!
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 Koreanness 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 twenty-five, 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, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.