All You Can Ever Know
LITERARY NON-FICTION | MEMOIR
“Highly compelling for its depiction of a woman’s struggle to make peace with herself and her identity, the book offers a poignant depiction of the irreducibly complex nature of human motives and family ties. A profound, searching memoir about ‘finding the courage to question what I’d always been told.'” —Kirkus Reviews
“The memoir All You Can Ever Know (Catapult, Oct.) is Nicole Chung’s first book, but I’ve been a fan of her writing for a long time—she’s an alum of the beloved, now-shuttered feminist humor site The Toast and writes for numerous high-profile publications. Her book examines her experience as a transracial adoptee and chronicles her search for her biological parents in Korea, which coincided with the birth of her own child. —Library Journal
“In her memoir, All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung takes the qualities that make her writing sing—warmth, inquisitiveness, and deep personal investment in the words she types—and turns them inward. Her debut is an investigation into her past in which she aims to leave no stone—or emotion—unturned.” —Shondaland
“[Chung] has written, hauntingly, about her adoption and growing up in a white family. . . . Her long-awaited memoir promises to explore the subject more fully: her relationship with her adoptive family, her reconnection with her birth family, beginning her own family and how she’s worked to find a sense of belonging.” —Huffington Post, 1 of 60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018
“Compassionate and astute, [Chung’s] writing has much to tell us about race, America, belonging, and adoption.” —Electric Lit, 1 of 46 Books By Women of Color to Read in 2018
“While grappling with her identity Chung exposes the truths we all endure when we try to figure out where we truly belong.”—Women.Com, 1 of 10 Books With Covers So Beautiful You Can Judge Them
“This book moved me to my very core. . . . [it] 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
“I’ve been waiting for this writer, and this book—and everything else she’ll write—and now it is here.” —Alexander Chee, author, The Queen of the Night
“Compassionate and compelling. A memoir about understanding yourself as a daughter so that you may understand yourself as a mother.” —Rainbow Rowell, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, Carry On
“This book will break your heart in all the best ways. Nicole Chung’s intimate exploration of motherhood, race, and identity is a beautiful personal story that also reveals something profound about our culture and country. I didn’t want it to end.” —Jessica Valenti, author, Sex Object
“In All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung examines her family history with rigor and grace, which is the best possible way to set about the prospect of asking questions of the people who made you. The book is lovely, and loving, and committed to honesty and exploration. It never shies away from reality. Nicole’s earnestness, her great capacity for affection, her commitment to dealing justly with others, her sense of humor are all vividly present here.” — Daniel Mallory Ortberg, author, The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror
“An urgent, incandescent exploration of what it can mean to love, and of who gets to belong, in an increasingly divided country. Nicole Chung’s powerful All You Can Ever Know is necessary reading, a dazzling light to help lead the way during these times.” —R. O. Kwon, author, The Incendiaries
“Nicole Chung has written a book for everyone, but the real gift is for adoptees. With her rare talent for telling a story while also telling you what it means, All You Can Ever Know is Chung at top form. This is a book not to miss and an adoption story we need. Read everything Nicole Chung writes. Start now.” —Matthew Salesses, author of The Hundred-Year Flood
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, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, 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.
Nicole Chung has written for The New York Times, GQ, Longreads, BuzzFeed, Hazlitt, and Shondaland, among other publications. She is Catapult magazine’s editor in chief and the former managing editor of The Toast. All You Can Ever Know is her first book.
The Netherlands (Querido)