Crying in H Mart is a memoir by Michelle Zauner, lead singer of the band Japanese Breakfast, which she put together after the death of her mother from cancer: she writes about family relationships, about loss and mourning, but also about growing up and finding her identity as a half-Korean, half-American.
Zauner was born in South Korea, but lived in the town of Eugene, Oregon since early childhood. In her youth, she had little in common with Korea, but when she was 25, the diagnosis of her mother’s incurable cancer forced her to return home and led her to rediscover the flavors, language and history she shared with her mother. In this difficult situation, cooking Korean food – the ingredients for which she bought at the eponymous H Mart store – deepened the bond she had with her mother and her native culture.
Crying in H Mart is a really moving story, but without unnecessary pathos and pretentiousness. Zauner simply writes with disarming honesty – the death of the mother, described intimately and in great detail, is really just the beginning of the story.