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The Things She Owned - Katherine Tamiko Arguile

The Things She Owned

By: Katherine Tamiko Arguile

Paperback | 1 May 2020 | Edition Number 1

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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 Wedgwood 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.

About the Author

Born and raised in Tokyo, Katherine Tamiko Arguile is an Anglo-Japanese author and arts journalist living in Adelaide, where she runs a small coffee business with her partner, which she juggles alongside her arts journalism and writing career.

Along the winding road to becoming an author she’s worked in art galleries, as an advertising executive, complementary health practitioner, marketing manager and a ‘Sneaker Pimp’ for Adidas. She was once a club DJ and flamenco dancer but now loves the quieter pursuits of baking, printmaking, gardening, yoga and long-distance running.

Katherine has won various writing awards, and her prize-winning short stories have been published in several anthologies. The Things She Owned was written for a PhD at the University of Adelaide, and is Katherine’s first novel.

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