87 pages 2 hours read

Michelle Zauner

Crying in H Mart

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 2021

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Chapters 17-20

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 17 Summary: “Little Axe”

After the holidays, Zauner gets a job at a pizza shop to stay busy before she and Peter move to New York. She expects it will be a pleasant experience, but she ends up working the late shift, serving college students after the bars let out. Peter wants her to quit, but she wants to be too busy to grieve. She also begins writing music, which culminates in her asking her friends Nick and Colin to join her and Peter in recording Psychopomp, her first album under the moniker Japanese Breakfast.

Before moving to New York, Zauner and Peter plan a belated honeymoon to Korea. Nami Emo insists they stay with her, but Zauner is hesitant because they won’t have a translator. Zauner sees an old photo of her mother’s family; only Nami is alive now, and Zauner remembers a story of the time Nami saw a fortune-teller who told her “she was like a giving tree […] but at her bases, there would always be a little axe, slowly striking at her trunk, slowly wearing her away” (196). Zauner worries that she’s the little axe from the story.

They fly to Korea in March, and upon hearing Korean again, Zauner thinks of her first words: umma, then mom.