by Michelle Zauner
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.
"Crying in H Mart powerfully maps a complicated mother-daughter relationship... Zauner writes about her mother's death [with] clear-eyed frankness... The book is a rare acknowledgement of the ravages of cancer in a culture obsessed with seeing it as an enemy that can be battled with hope and strength. Zauner plumbs the connections between food and identity... her food descriptions transport us to the table alongside her. What Crying in H Mart reveals is that in losing her mother and cooking to bring her back to life, Zauner became herself." -- NPR
"Poignant... A tender, well-rendered, heart-wrenching account of the way food ties us to those who have passed. The author delivers mouthwatering descriptions of dishes like pajeon, jatjuk, and gimbap, and her storytelling is fluid, honest, and intimate. 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)
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