35 minutes | Jun 9, 2021

Michelle Zauner's Joy Is Rooted In Vengeance

When Michelle Zauner of the indie band Japanese Breakfast returned home to Eugene, Oregon, to take care of her mother in 2014, she wasn’t prepared for what life would be like as a caregiver. Her mother, whom she often clashed with growing up, had been diagnosed with late-stage gastrointestinal cancer, and Michelle struggled to fulfill what she believed her obligations were as an only child. “I did not have any idea of what I was getting into or what death looked like and what illness looked like,” Michelle told me, and writes about in a new book called Crying in H Mart. “I felt like needed to write about these things, in some sense, to like, warn people,” she told me. 

Since Michelle’s mom died, her band has released three albums—two that were focused on grief and loss, and the latest, which is called Jubilee. I talk with Michelle about the things that are making her happy today—and about why she recently tweeted that all of her joy “is rooted in vengeance.”

Listen to Japanese Breakfast's latest album, Jubilee, here, and check out her Crying in H Mart Spotify playlist here.

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