Review: Crying in H Mart
Updated: Jan 2
To say this book had me sobbing is an understatement. Crying in H Mart is a brutally honest, lyrical and heart wrenching memoir about identity, loss and the ways in which we try to keep alive those we have lost. Michelle Zauner (singer and guitarist of Japanese Breakfast) relates her upbringing in a mixed race household, struggles with identity, and the loss of her mother to cancer, with a depth that is equal parts vivacious and melancholic.
I had to go slow with this book as somehow I’ve managed to gravitate towards too many illness adjacent memoirs (specifically cancer memoirs) which I tend to avoid due to them bringing up my own traumatic memories. However, Crying in H Mart is so poetic and profound that reading it was such a cathartic experience, even if it was bittersweet.
I honestly couldn’t do this book justice in a review. So do yourself a favour and grab a copy from your local indie bookstore or local library 🙌🏼
Some quotes I loved:
‘Now that she was gone, I began to study her like a stranger, rooting around her belongings in an attempt to rediscover her, trying to bring her back to life in any way that I could.’ (p.168)
‘… we wandered lost without a reference point, each of us unintelligible to the other’s expectations, until these past few years when we had just begun to unlock the mystery, carve the psychic space to accommodate each other, appreciate the differences between us, linger in our refracted commonalities. Then, what would have been the most fruitful years of understanding were cut violently short, and I was left alone to decipher the secrets of inheritance without its key.’ (p.169)
‘I wondered if the 10 percent she kept from the three of us who knew her best – my father, Nami, and me – had all been different, a pattern of deception that together we could reconstruct. I wondered if I could ever know all of her, what other threads she’d left behind to pull.’ (p.202)