A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
by Dani Shapiro
From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist and host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes 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.
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had casually submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Over the course of a single day, her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her. Inheritance is a book about secrets. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that had been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years. 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. Dani Shapiro’s memoir unfolds at a breakneck pace—part mystery, part real-time investigation, part rumination on the ineffable combination of memory, history, biology, and experience that makes us who we are. Inheritance is a devastating and haunting interrogation of the meaning of kinship and identity, written with stunning intensity and precision.
Inheritance is a Jewish Book Council Selects title. Here’s why JBC recommends this book:
Interview with Dani Shapiro and T Kira Madden from the Jewish Book Council Journal.
"How do you make sense of your identity after a DNA test reveals that the man who raised you is not your biological father? Inheritance is a memoir that reads like a psychological suspense novel with a narrator who faces challenges and moral dilemmas that are all the more gripping because they are not fictional. This meaningful exploration of genetics, paternity, and the world of infertility may be Dani Shapiro's finest work yet." — Jewish Book Council's National Jewish Book Award Judges