What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?
Nicole Chung was born severely premature in the United States, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With the same warmth, candor, and startling insight that has made
her a beloved voice, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up,
which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a
profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions
of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever
struggled to figure out where they belong.
“This book moved me to my very core. As in all her writing, Nicole Chung speaks eloquently and honestly about her own personal story, then widens her aperture to illuminate all of us. All You Can Ever Know is full of insights on race, motherhood, and family of all kinds, but what sets it apart is the compassion Chung brings to every facet of her search for identity and every person portrayed in these pages. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever had, wanted, or found a family―which is to say, everyone.” ―Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
"Chung’s memoir is more than a thoughtful consideration of race and heritage in America. It is the story of sisters finding each other, overcoming bureaucracy, abuse, separation, and time." ―The New Yorker
Nicole Chung's memoir, All You Can Ever Know, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, long-listed for the PEN Open Book Award, and named a Best Book of the Year by nearly two dozen outlets, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, NPR, Time, Newsday, and Library Journal. Chung has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The Atlantic, New York magazine, Longreads, and Hazlitt, among many other publications. She is the editor in chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast.
Danielle Evans is the author of the story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, winner of the PEN American Robert W. Bingham prize, the Hurston-Wright Award, the Paterson Prize, and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection. Her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies including The Paris Review, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, New Stories From the South, and The Best American Short Stories. She teaches creative writing at Johns Hopkins University.