Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

by Elysian Magazine

by Michelle Zauner


Michelle Zauner

Debuting at No. 2 on The New York Times Best Seller List (nonfiction), Crying in H Mart is written by American “experimental pop” musician Michelle Zauner, who performs as the solo project, “Japanese Breakfast.”  Born in Seoul to a South Korean mother and Jewish-American father, Crying in H Mart is the autobiographical account of how Michelle dealt with the death of her mother in 2014 from cancer.  “Mother always said, save our tears for after your mother died.  I thought it was so cruel growing up and as I grew older, I learned it was something her mother had told her when she was growing up,” the author explains.

Michelle cared for their mother throughout her illness.  Preparing her meals gave her the opportunity to learn about Korean cuisine and after her mother’s death, comes to terms with her loss.  “There is a lot about Korean food that I did not know. After she passed away, learning how to cook Korean food was like forgiving myself,  ‘to save your tears for when your mother dies.’”

The turning point of processing her grief came when Michelle performed in Seoul, where her mother was born and raised. “It was just such a moving, full-circle moment where, you know, just knowing, like, my mom would never believe it, but also having to feel in my heart that she knows in some way.”


  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition (April 20, 2021)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • NY Times Best Seller List


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