When Kat Chow was thirteen, her mother died of cancer, and she has been living with her ghost ever since. In this powerful memoir, Kat turns to her family’s stories and ephemera to find answers for what she had lost, what haunts her still. In doing so, she unearths and honors the complexity of her entire family, from her father who immigrated from China and dreamed in America, to his parents, to her own childhood and that of her older sisters, all affected by grief and loss and always undying love.— Melinda
For readers 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.