Caitlin Ober is back in Japan, teaching English in Kyushu. Some 15 years ago, as a little girl, Caitlin lived in Kyoto, but a tragic accident drove her and her family back to America. Now guilt obscures her path, just as ashfall from a nearby volca covers Kagoshima in dust. In a garden Caitlin meets a teenage half-Japanese girl, Naomi, who may be someone Caitlin can save this time around. Together the two travel to Kyoto during O-Bon, the festival when the dead return. Amid bonfires, temple grounds, and ghostly memories, Caitlin bravely embraces her future. Ash is a bittersweet vel of redemptive beauty, of startling images and alluring details.Holly Thompson lives in Kamakura and writes frequently about Japan. This is her first vel.