A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, 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.
Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro’s memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love.
About the Author
Dani Shapiro (born April 10, 1962) is an American writer who is the author of five novels and the best-selling memoirsHourglass, Slow Motion, and Devotion. She has also written for magazines such as The New Yorker, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and ELLE. Since 1997 she has been married to screenwriter Michael Maren. They have one child. Shapiro has also written for the screen, having adapted Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince for HBO in 1999. In 2000, she co-wrote a screenplay based on her memoir, Slow Motion, with her husband, journalist and screenwriter Michael Maren. She has been a professor of creative writing at Wesleyan University and an instructor at the New School and Columbia University.