Author Interview: Michelle Zauner

From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book comes Crying in H Mart, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. We spoke with author Michelle Zauner about the inspiration for Crying in H Mart, narrating her audiobook, and more!

Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner • Narrated by the author

“I was struck by just how much I loved this book for how it walks through grief not as a way to leave it behind, but as a way to remember its exact shape. I’m grateful for its funny, self-deprecating, and wise observations, and for its difficult beauty.”

Steve, Parnassus Books

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

I was inspired by my mother, celebrating her character and spirit, exploring our relationship. There was a real sense of urgency to write this after her passing, to just express everything that had happened and make sense of it.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

I only cried once!

Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about the narration?

I haven’t listened to it yet, but I was struck by how therapeutic it was to revisit the book and get to read it over the course of three days and really live in it again for a short while.

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

Growing up, Smith’s family bookstore in Eugene, Oregon was one of my favorite places to spend hours and hours, and of course Powell’s in Portland. I’ve always had such a fond relationship with local bookstores and it’s been so fun to get to have more of a relationship with them now that I’ve actually written a book.

Michelle Zauner’s recommendations:


By Daniel Torday

Avoid the Day

By Jay Kirk

Real Life

By Brandon Taylor

Interior Chinatown

By Charles Yu

A Burning

By Megha Majumdar

Header photo by Joyce Jude

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