Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2019 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family." --Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist and novelist--"a writer of rare talent" (Cheryl Strayed)--a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history--the life she had lived--crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is a book about secrets--secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in--a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

 

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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

In this fascinating memoir, Shapiro (Hourglass) writes of how she questioned her identity when a DNA test revealed that she was not, as she believed she was, 100% Jewish. Shapiro grew up in an ... Read full review

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About the author (2019)

DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro's short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

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