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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Helen Macdonald and Elizabeth Alexander, an intimate and haunting portrait of grief and the search for meaning from a singular new talent as told through the prism of three generations of her Chinese American family.

Kat Chow has always been unusually fixated on death. She worried constantly about her parents dying - especially her mother. A vivacious and mischievous woman, Kat's mother made a morbid joke that would haunt her for years to come: When she died, she'd like to be stuffed and displayed in Kat's future apartment in order to always watch over her. 

After her mother dies unexpectedly from cancer, Kat, her sisters, and their father are plunged into a debilitating, lonely grief. With a distinct voice that is wry and heartfelt, Kat weaves together a story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America. Seeing Ghosts asks what it means to reclaim and tell your family’s story: Is writing an exorcism, or is it its own form of preservation? The result is an extraordinary new contribution to the literature of the American family, and a provocative and transformative meditation on who we become facing loss.

©2021 Kat Chow (P)2021 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"Journalist Chow writes longingly about her mother, who died from cancer, in this intimate debut about a life shaped by loss.... While deep emotion drives her writing, Chow generally avoids oversentimentality and buoys what could otherwise be an overwhelmingly despondent narrative with bursts of joy and irreverence.... The result is a moving depiction of grief at its most mundane and spectacular." (Publishers Weekly)

"Kat Chow dares to explore the lingering dynamics of her family’s shared grief in her breathtaking debut memoir.... It’s a bittersweet meditation on how losing the ones we love indelibly shapes the futures of the living, and how we ultimately find healing in the strength of family." (Time magazine)

"How do we know our mothers? This seemed to me to be what this powerful memoir brought into focus for me. From the narrow window we have of them from childhood, expanding outward as we grow older, and then after their death, when they cannot keep their secrets from us, including that also, the result is a prismatic vision of the mother in these pages, of Chow's mother, but all our mothers. This is a book that asks us to consider if we allow our mothers to be human - and ourselves, too. A daring, loving, searing debut." (Alexander Chee, best-selling author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel)

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Excellent book

Really enjoyed reading this book. Losing a father myself, I love how you have written a lot of your feelings into an excellent memoirs