Known for rocking the stage with cosmic sound and aching lyrics, Philadephia’s own Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast is embarking on a new artistic adventure: writing a book. Zauner signed a deal with Knopf to publish her memoir, Crying in H Mart, which shares the story of her childhood as a Korean-American, losing her mother to cancer, and her hunt for identity.
In 2018, Zauner published an essay in the New Yorker by the same title that explored the loss of her mother and how she connected to her late mother through Korean food. In the essay, she writes:
“Instead, you’ll likely find me crying by the banchan refrigerators, remembering the taste of my mom’s soy-sauce eggs and cold radish soup. Or in the freezer section, holding a stack of dumpling skins, thinking of all the hours that Mom and I spent at the kitchen table folding minced pork and chives into the thin dough. Sobbing near the dry goods, asking 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 explored similar themes in her debut album, Psychopomp. Her song “In Heaven” wrestles with grief and features lyrics like: “I’m trying to believe / When I sleep it’s really you / Visiting my dreams / Like they say that angels do.” The loss of her mother permeates both of Japanese Breakfast’s albums and it seems that writing a memoir that reflects on her experience is the next best step for Zauner.
Hopefully we will get a glimpse into her work as a musician as well, but, regardless, the upcoming memoir promises to be a searing meditation on how it feels to lose those closest to us and how we put ourselves back together again.
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