A Living Remedy - Nicole Chung

May 3rd, 2024 | Episode 286

We cannot separate grief from the context in which it occurs. This is true for Nicole Chung whose adopted parents died just two years apart in 2018 and 2020. The world of 2018 was very different than that of 2020. In 2018, Nicole and her mother could grieve for her father, together and in person. In 2020, Nicole was on the other side of the country, grieving for her mother in isolation during the early days of the pandemic. The other context that played a role in her parents' lives and their deaths is the structural inequality that exists in the U.S. economy and end of life care. Nicole chronicles all of this in her new memoir, A Living Remedy.

We discuss:

  • How hard it is to describe people and what they mean to us
  • What it was like to be cut off from more traditional grief rituals during the pandemic
  • Grieving an unexpected vs (more) expected death
  • Learning to distinguish between guilt and regret
  • How grounding her parents' deaths in a larger context helped alleviate some of her guilt
  • The pressures Nicole felt to care for her parents as an only child in a working class family
  • What it costs to die and grieve in the U.S.
  • The unacknowledged grief of being a transracial adoptee
  • Approaching the 4-year anniversary of her mother's death

Nicole Chung’s A Living Remedy was named a Notable Book of 2023 by The New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by over a dozen outlets, including Time, USA Today, Harper's Bazaar, Esquire, Electric Literature, and TODAY. Her 2018 debut, the national bestseller All You Can Ever Know, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a semifinalist for the PEN Open Book Award, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and an Indies Choice Honor Book.

Chung’s writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Time, The Guardian, GQ, Slate, Vulture, and many other publications. Previously, she was digital editorial director at the independent publisher Catapult, where she helped lead its magazine to two National Magazine Awards; before that, she was the managing editor of The Toast and an editor at Hyphen magazine. In 2021, she was named to the Good Morning America AAPI Inspiration List honoring those “making Asian American history right now.” Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in the Washington, DC area.

Ep 286 GOL

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