‘All my life I had known there was a secret. What I hadn’t known: the secret was me.’
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. Everything she had believed about her identity was a lie.
Shapiro’s parents were no longer alive. With only a handful of figures on a webpage, Shapiro set out to discover the truth about herself and her history.
Inheritance is a genetic detective story; a memoir that reads like a thriller. It 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 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.
‘Shapiro writes with poetic precision in prose that sometimes sings. And she knows how to tell a story… Fascinating.’ – Sunday Times
‘In prose as clear as a bell, Inheritance addresses the impact of nature versus nurture ... it is superb storytelling.’ – TLS
‘Those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read Inheritance, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.’ – The Observer
‘A timely exploration of the profound social consequences of today's burgeoning artificial insemination industry’ – Metro
‘Moving and emotionally raw, Shapiro’s memoir opens out from a painful reassessment of her life to grapple with the ethics of reproductive medicine in the 1960s.’ – Scottish Herald
‘An intensely personal story, and a beautifully written enquiry into belonging and self. So warm and deft. I envy those yet to read it.’ – Nigella Lawson (via Twitter)
‘The book moves like a thriller, but it also reads as a meditation on the role that both secrets and the truth can play in our lives.’ – AnOtherMag.com
‘Engaging and thought-provoking ... the worlds of nature and nurture collide in this gripping and deeply personal account.’ – Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine
‘A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love and to belong.’ – Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
‘A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.’ – Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach
‘A writer of rare talent.’ – Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
‘Beautiful … A fantastic writer.’ – Dolly Alderton, The High Low podcast
‘Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.’ – Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
‘Searing... How do we live with ourselves after finding we are not who we thought we were? The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.’ – André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name