The Things She Owned

Katherine Tamiko Arguile

The Things She Owned
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The Things She Owned

Katherine Tamiko Arguile

Years after the death of her cruel and complicated mother, Erika’s house is still full of the things Michiko left behind: an onigiri basket, a Wedgewood tea set, a knotted ring from Okinawa. In defiance of Japanese tradition, Erika has also kept the urn containing Michiko’s ashes, refusing to put her memory to rest. Erika throws herself into working as a chef at a high-end London restaurant and pretends everything is fine. But when a cousin announces that she will be visiting from Japan, Erika’s resolve begins to crack.

Slowly the things Michiko owned reveal stories of Michiko’s youth amid the upheaval of Tokyo during and after the war. As the two women’s stories progress and entwine, Erika is drawn to the island of Okinawa, the homeland of her grandmother. It’s a place of magic and mysticism where the secrets of Erika’s own past are waiting to be revealed.

Beautiful and mysterious, The Things She Owned explores the complexity of lives lived between cultures, the weight of crossgenerational trauma, and a mother and daughter on a tortuous path to forgiveness.

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