Michelle Zauner has a story to tell. The musician behind Japanese Breakfast has revealed the publication date for her memoir Crying in H Mart will be April 20, 2021, by way of Knopf Publishing. The book will be an expanded take on the essay of the same title Zauner penned for The New Yorker in 2018.
“My mother passed away almost six years ago and ever since, my life has felt folded in half, divided into a before and after her death, my identity and my family having been fractured in the wake of her loss,” Zauner explained in a press statement. “I’ve spent the past six years processing grief in the best way I knew how-through creative work. I wrote two albums worth of material in an attempt to encapsulate all of that heavy darkness, confusion and loneliness, and then I spent another three years writing pages and pages to try and capture my mother’s brilliant character and spirit, what it was like to be raised by a Korean immigrant in a small west coast town with very little diversity, the intense shame I felt towards my mixed race identity and how my embrace of Korean food and culture helped me come to terms with that upbringing, allowed me to reconnect with her memory.”
Read the publisher’s description of Crying in H Mart below:
“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.”