• Seeing Ghosts

  • A Memoir
  • By: Kat Chow
  • Narrated by: Kat Chow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (87 ratings)

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Seeing Ghosts  By  cover art

Seeing Ghosts

By: Kat Chow
Narrated by: Kat Chow
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Publisher's summary

This "graceful, captivating" (New York Times Book Review) story from a singular new talent paints a portrait of grief and the search for meaning as told through the prism of three generations of her Chinese American family—perfect for fans of Helen Macdonald and Elizabeth Alexander.

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.

AN NPR BOOKS WE LOVE 2021 PICK * A TIME MUST-READ BOOK OF 2021 PICK * A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2021 * A HARPER'S BAZAAR BOOK YOU NEED TO READ IN 2021 * A TOWN & COUNTRY BEST BOOK OF 2021 PICK * A FORTUNE BEST BOOK OF 2021 PICK

©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, bestselling author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

What listeners say about Seeing Ghosts

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Beautiful book

This book made me both laugh and cry. It made me feel deeply for the author’s experience of loss as well as for my own.

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