I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but Crying in H Mart was recommended to me on #booktwt because I was looking for similar vibes to On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. I’m glad I picked Crying in H Mart up! Michelle Zauner’s writing is moving, right in your face, and yet manages to be compassionate and loving.
This memoir deals with the loss of the author’s mother due to cancer, and is as such necessarily painful. I feel the book does justice to the experience though (that’s a bad way of saying it, like what can ever do justice to an experience of losing your mother). But I guess what I’m trying to say is the writing isn’t flippant – it has gravitas. The topic of life and death is handled with care – something that is always tricky to do.
Crying in H Mart is also about identity. Being half Korean and half American, the author goes through self-identity crisis and search which is amplified when her connection with Korean culture is cut short because of her mother’s death. The author writes about how she slowly finds her way back to it through food and cooking. This is something which is surely relatable to everyone who has ever dealt with identity and cultural crisis. As such, anyone who loves books about food (especially Korean food) will also be attracted to Crying in H Mart.
Although nonfiction, the memoir nature of the book results in me reading it like a fiction, so I wasn’t bored at all. I didn’t cry (these days it’s loving relationships that make me cry, not sorrow) but I was very moved and ate a lot of ramen and shrimp prawn chips while I read it. The prose is to the point when necessary, but also poetic in certain scenes – perhaps because she writes songs!
PS: Here’s a shout out to Post Bookshop, a book shop in Pasar (market) Santa from where I ordered it. The delivery was quick, the packaging lovely, and the handwritten note so sweet! Friends in Indo, please support this bookshop!