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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best seller 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 the wake of her loss, which brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

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 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, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive in this narrative as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share and dive into again and again.

©2021 Michelle Zauner (P)2021 Penguin Randomhouse LLC

Critic Reviews

"As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven't." (Marie Claire

"There's a beautiful sureness to her narration throughout, but her voice comes alive when she's describing food: the Korean dishes her mother cooked, learning to make kimchi after her mother's death, her painful attempts to enjoy a meal out with her father in the midst of their grief. By turns funny, heart breaking and self-reflective, this poignant memoir captures all the messy truths of a mother-daughter relationship. Zauner's musical voice - warm, steady and brimming over with emotion - will slide straight into listeners' hearts." (AudioFile)  

"A gut punch of a book.... It is a moving and emotional look at an in imperfect mother-daughter relationship, and how truly heartbreaking it is to lose someone before their time." (Independent)

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Evocative and heartbreaking yet hopeful and humane

I walked and listened to this book, crying, my heart broken to pieces many times. I can relate to so many things, from identity crisis to losing my mother, then father, and me eventually. I've lived in Korea for almost two decades and I'll have to leave eventually, in a couple of years, probably. I'm still here but listening to all the Koreana listed here with surgical precision, from food, customs, superstitions, behavior... I already miss it all. Highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-05-21

Beautiful story, boring and monotonous narrator.

Really beautiful story of a mother daughter love that is incomparable to any other relationship. I really believe that not all authors should also be the narrator, simply because it is their story. At times the narrator was boring and depressing to listen to and it felt more of a task to listen that it perhaps should!

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  • Christine T.
  • 11-28-21

Great but difficult read

Good story and insight into Korean culture. But a difficult read for anyone who has lost their family or not seen them due to the pandemic. I struggled with this one a bit.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-23-21

A memoir that helped me process my own grief

I just wanted to say thank you to Michelle for her candid documentation of her relationship with her mother, family and identity. It verbalised emotions and sentiments I could never find the energy or strength to properly process and for that I am grateful.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-17-22

I called my parents within 45mins of listening….

Michelle offers hindsight and a story that so many people only think about when they are loosing a parent or have sadly lost them.

You are there with her and her mother as they fight an impossible battle and feel the gamut of emotions with them.

The book gave me hope and perspective to actively start to strengthen my parental relationships as a child and a father.

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  • Kris Tregenza
  • 01-15-22

Poignant, painful, beautiful.

While my experience of palliating my mother was very different, so many moments in this book resonated powerfully with me. There are elements of grief and of loss that are universal parts of the human condition. Thank you Michelle, for sharing these most vulnerable parts of yourself so candidly. Your story is beautiful.

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  • Joyee
  • 01-07-22

Get ready the tissues ready

Such a beautiful spoken story about the love from a daughter to a mother. Makes you realise that life is short and we should spend it with the people we love.

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  • Cathy
  • 09-16-21

A beautifully written memoir

Each chapter was emotive and beautifully written, filled with grief, family, culture and food. A must read!

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  • Bryan
  • 08-16-21

All the feels

Beautifully written. Zauner captures the painful moments for trying to comprise with the universe whilst in a powerlessness position and the painful moments of losing a dear loved one in such depth and warmth.