Crying in H Mart
July 27, 2021 3:58 PM - by Zauner, Michelle - Subscribe

"Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart. For those of you who don’t know, H Mart is a supermarket chain that specializes in Asian food. The “H” stands for han ah reum, a Korean phrase that roughly translates to “one arm full of groceries.” H Mart is where parachute kids go to get the exact brand of instant noodles that reminds them of home." Michelle Zauner's memoir, Crying in H Mart (NPR; Goodreads) explores identity, family relationships, shared meals, grief, and memory in a clear-eyed and compassionate telling.

"Sobbing near the dry goods, [I ask] myself, “Am I even Korean anymore if there’s no one left in my life to call and ask which brand of seaweed we used to buy?” (Zauner's personal history piece of the same name appeared in The New Yorker in 2018; Wayback snapshot. Her book was published in 2021.)
posted by MonkeyToes (2 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I just finished this and found it really moving. I knew going into it that her mom died (and this happened well before the end of the book) but I kept finding myself curious about what would happen next - what would happen with her relationship with Peter when she relocated across the country? What would happen between Michelle and her dad after her mom wasn't there as a buffer? (Possibly of note, I'm pretty sure that her dad was not included in the acknowledgements at the end of the book.) How would Michelle interact with her Korean relatives without her mom? It was painful and funny and heartbreaking and sweet.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago and I was there for all of her appointments and surgeries. I read this book right after spending a week on vacation with my parents after seeing them very infrequently for over a year because of covid, and it made me so grateful that a) she's fine now, and b) I can see her regularly again.
posted by SeedStitch at 7:06 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

What would happen between Michelle and her dad after her mom wasn't there as a buffer?

In addition to what is in her book, Michelle Zauner has a brief article on this subject in the April 2021 issue of Harper's Bazaar: When My Mother Died, My Father Quickly Started a New Life. I Chose to Forgive Him.
posted by RichardP at 4:03 PM on July 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

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