Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, penned an essay, "Crying in H Mart," about family, food, and grief for The New Yorker in 2018; that became the basis for a memoir of the same name. Crying in H Mart is due out on April 20, 2021 via Knopf, and here's what Michelle has to say about it:

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. 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.

You can read the publisher's description of Crying in H Mart, and see the cover art, below.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for a follow-up on Japanese Breakfast's great 2017 album Soft Sounds From Another Planet, but Michelle did recently release some new music with Crying songwriter and guitarist Ryan Galloway under the name BUMPER. Stream their debut EP, pop songs 2020, below.

cover art by John Gal

Crying In H Mart Publisher Description

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.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.