Picking Bones from Ash by Marie Mutsuki Mockett

picking bones from ashPicking Bones from Ash tells the story of Satomi and Rumi, a mother and daughter separated by geography, culture, and time.  Satomi, raised in a remote Japanese village, is pushed by her single mother to capitalize on her talent for the piano.  Desperate to please her mother but disenchanted with a career in music, Satomi faces an identity crisis that will lead her to sever family ties.  As a young girl, Rumi discovers that objects speak to her of their origins and authenticity.  This mysterious skill leads her on a quest to a Buddhist temple high in the snowy mountains of Japan, where she hopes to settle a restless spirit.

“I felt a little the way you do on the first full day of autumn, when the air has permanently shifted from sultry to cool and the atmosphere has grown so tense the leaves on deciduous trees all fall in fear.  Something, I knew, had come for me.”

Picking Bones from Ash is Marie Mutsuki Mockett‘s debut novel.  She has written for The Millions and National Geographic, and was featured in the Norton anthology Creative Nonfiction 3.  Her memoir, Where the Dead Pause the Japanese Say Goodbye, was published in 2015.

Published:  2009
Length:  263 pages
Set in:  Japan



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