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All booksMemoirCrying in H Mart
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Memoir

Crying in H Mart

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Michelle Zauner, on your first book!

by Michelle Zauner

Quick take

A vibrant memoir of heritage—cultural, culinary, and otherwise—rediscovered in the wake of a shattering loss.

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    Emotional

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    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

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    Buzzy

Why I love it

Adrienne Brodeur
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!

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Synopsis

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.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Crying in H Mart.

Member thoughts

All (2637)
All (2637)
Love (1835)
Like (735)
Dislike (67)
2654 ratings
  • 69% Love
  • 28% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Marietta , GA

    An enjoyable read from start to finish. Really makes you reflect on things you take for granted when a loved one is alive. A reminder to spend as much time as you can with them and learn all you can.

  • El Cerrito, CA

    This book had me crying from the first chapter in unexpected ways. As a biracial Asian person, I really related to this memoir in a way I haven't experienced before. Also incredible food descriptions.

  • Martinez, CA

    Michelle writes beautifully and had me in tears throughout the book. The coming-of-age emotions are painfully relatable. I highly recommend this to anyone who has or has had a mother (yes, everyone).

  • Springfield, IL

    So beautifully written…I felt like my mother was the one struggling through chemo not a stranger in a book. I cried many times and laughed just as much. One of the best books I’ve read this year.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    excuse me while i go sob forever now because i will never stop crying after reading this eviscerating masterpiece. read this asap. it will rip you to spreads but you’ll welcome every single tear.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    Oh my god, everyone needs to read this book. It will have you feeling so many relatable emotions and also really make you reflect on what’s important in life. Be prepared to cry the entire book!

  • Bemidji , MN

    How is it that a story about someone losing their mom could be written so beautifully? I am sold anytime a book has a soundtrack embedded in the story and relationships revolve around food.

  • San Jose, CA

    One of the best books of the year. A beautifully written book that explores the nuances of mother-daughter relationships, and how we express love and loss. Read this with a tissue in hand!

  • Katy, TX

    I already read this book I just needed the Book of the Month edition. This book spoke to me in ways you cannot imagine. I loved this book so much and fell in love with Michelle’s story.

  • AUSTIN, TX

    A beautiful, frank, and heartbreaking memoir telling the story of imperfect relationships and the lengths we go to reconcile. A love letter to Michelle’s mother, heritage, and childhood.

  • Bryn Mawr, PA

    A beautiful exploration of mother-daughter relationships, the first-generation experience, and what it means to find and explore your culture when you lose your biggest connection to it.

  • Knoxville, TN

    This was such a heart wrenching, beautiful memoir. I really hope this isn’t the last book she writes, she’s such a talent and has an incredible way with words. So many feelings!

  • Vineland, NJ

    I don't normally go for memoirs but something about this one just drew me in. A beautiful tale of grief, love, family, and overall life that also left me hungry. So very very good.

  • Dayton, OH

    This book was excellent! There were obviously very sad moments but the writing is absolutely beautiful. Now, I want to book a flight to Korea and eat all the food! Well done!

  • Lake Forest, CA

    This book lands on something so true and real about grief that even the most epic of fictions can’t ever recreate. I felt Zauner’s pain in the most imperfect human way.

  • Jersey City, NJ

    An absolutely stunning memoir examining the relationship between mother and daughter, food and culture, and love and family. I laughed, cried, and ached. Wonderful.

  • Arlington, VA

    Such a great story of a woman’s complicated and beautiful relationship with her mom. I lost my dad to cancer so found this book so relatable and hard to put down

  • Kaneohe, HI

    Surprisingly well-written for a first book. Lots of food for thought on mother-daughter relationships. Honest & insightful memoir, highly recommend it.

  • New Albany, IN

    Amazing memoir that half Korean, half Caucasian individuals will especially relate to. Heartfelt, heartbreaking, and heart lifting all at once.

  • Stephens City , VA

    Such a moving memoir about mother/daughter love and how it can be shown in many different ways. I loved all of the food descriptions.

Memoir
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