THE NO 2 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, powerful, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean 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 humour and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid 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, 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 pancreatic 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, Michelle 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 reread.
A book you experience with all of your senses: sentences you can taste, paragraphs that sound like music. [Zauner] seamlessly blends stories of food and memory, sumptuousness and grief, to weave a complex narrative of loyalty and loss. -- Rachel Syme
A gripping, sensuous portrait of an indelible mother-daughter bond that hits all the notes: love, friction, loyalty, grief. All mothers and daughters will recognize themselves – and each other – in these pages. -- Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance
A wonder: A beautiful, deeply moving coming-of-age story about mothers and daughters, love and grief, food and identity. It blew me away, even as it broke my heart. -- Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me
The book’s descriptions of jjigae, tteokbokki, and other Korean delicacies stand out as tokens of the deep, all-encompassing love between Zauner and her mother, a love that is charted in vivid descriptions of her mother after death; in a time when people around the world are reckoning with untold loss due to COVID-19, Zauner’s frankness around death feels like an unexpected yet deeply necessary gift. ― Vogue US
It is [Zauner's] ability to convey how her mother's simple offering of a rice snack was actually an act of the truest love that leaves the most indelible impression. ― Refinery 29
Crying in H Mart is palpable in its grief and its tenderness, reminding us what we all stand to lose. ― Vulture
Incandescent. ― Electric Lit
When a loved one dies, we search all of our senses for signs of their presence. Zauner’s ability to let us in through taste makes her book stand out―she makes us feel like we are in her mother’s kitchen, singing her praises. ― Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Lyrical . . . Earnest . . . Zauner does a good job capturing the grief of losing a parent with pathos. ― Publishers Weekly
Zauner brings dish after dish to life on the page in a rich broth of delectable details, cultural context and the personal history often packed into every bite. . . [Crying in H Mart] will ultimately thrill Japanese Breakfast fans and provide comfort to those in the throes of loss while brilliantly detailing the colorful panorama of Korean culture, traditions and ― yes ― food' ― San Francisco Chronicle
Crying in H Mart is a warm and wholehearted work of literature, an honest and detailed account of grief over time, studded with moments of hope, humor, beauty, and clear-eyed observation. It is not to be missed. ― Seattle Times
About the Author
Michelle Zauner is best known as a singer and guitarist who creates dreamy, shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast. She has won acclaim from major music outlets around the world for releases like Psychopomp and Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Her third album, Jubilee, released in 2021. Crying in H Mart is her first book.