- File Size: 1032 KB
- Print Length: 250 pages
- Publisher: Anchor (January 15, 2019)
- Publication Date: January 15, 2019
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07DBRGMFB
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,546 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.95|
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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
A Washington Post, Vulture, Bustle, Real Simple, PopSugar, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2019
“[An] engrossing, compassionate memoir.... As in the best writing on the self, the point is the integrity of her search.” —Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
“The writing is that of a true storyteller who will not stop until she has bored down to the bottom of where she came from, and in this she is at her narrative best.” —Oprah Magazine
“As compulsively readable as a mystery novel, while exploring the deeper mysteries of identity and family and truth itself... a story told with great insight and honesty and heart.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A meditation on what it means to live in a time when secrecy, anonymity, and mystery are vanishing.” —The New Yorker
“Shapiro is skilled at spinning her personal explorations into narrative gold.” —NPR
“[A] swift moving narrative of profound personal disorientation. Just as you think you’ve crested the big reveal, Shapiro builds more tension, chapter by short chapter; she keeps you close as she feels her way through unfamiliar terrain.” —Newsday
“Inheritance zooms in on the blind spots that result when reproductive technology outpaces an understanding of its consequences. In viewing this important and timely topic through a highly personal lens, Inheritance succeeds admirably.” —The Seattle Times
“Inheritance offers a thought-provoking look at the shifting landscape of identity.” —The Washington Post
“[Shapiro] has an intimate, ruminating style, leaping associatively through time, addressing the reader not as an audience, or voyeur, but more as an interlocutor, thoughtfully answering the questions she thinks someone might ask, if they lived in her head.” —Bookforum
“Inheritance is dedicated “to my father”. That [Shapiro] doesn’t say which one speaks volumes: those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read her book, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.” —The Guardian
“Shapiro [writes]... this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.” —Vulture
“Inheritance explores Shapiro’s identity in relationship to her memory, family history, biology, and experience. And it essentially asks the question: What makes us who we are? It’s brilliant.” —Goop
“Smart, psychologically astute, and not afraid to tell it like it is.” —USA Today
“A poignant examination of identity and what happens when one's wholeness and understanding of who they are is completely uprooted.” —Marie Claire
“It's a cautionary tale about a brave new world of technology that erases privacy, and a story about one of the oldest themes of human narrative: finding oneself.” —Miami Herald
“Written with generosity and honesty, Inheritance takes the modern phenomenon of casual DNA testing and builds a deeply personal narrative around it. The result is a vital, necessary read from a talented author.” —Paste Magazine
“Shapiro [writes] this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.” —Bitch Magazine
“A fascinating, pertinent look into the murky world of medical ethics, as well as the kind of profound, insightful look into the meaning of love and connection that we’ve come to expect from Shapiro.” —Nylon
“A remarkable, dogged, emotional journey as Shapiro digs into the past to find the truth.” —Boston Herald
“Inheritance reads like an introspective mystery as Shapiro sorts facts from fiction.” —Elle
“In Inheritance, Shapiro movingly reckons with identity and family secrets.” —Real Simple
“Inheritance adds significantly to Shapiro’s body of work while plugging into some of our culture’s most pressing concerns—identity, technology and medical ethics, among others. Although her story is unique to her, it offers a way of thinking about our changing, uncertain times.” —The Florida Times Union
“Inheritance is both thrilling and fascinating—a nonfiction book that reads like a novel.” —Pop Sugar
“Shapiro unpacks a beautiful and heartbreaking narrative of paternity, genetics, and family.” —Lit Hub
“As Shapiro deftly navigates the emotional story of her own origins, she also spins her grief, shock, and introspection into a compelling narrative that you won’t be able to put down.” —Book Riot“[Shapiro’s] magnificent journey of selfhood, arduous and awakening, makes our communal reflection in the mirror deeper and continually delving.” —Jamie Lee Curtis
“Inheritance is Dani Shapiro at her best: a gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” —Jennifer Egan
“Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.” —Meg Wolitzer
“A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love, and to belong.” —Anthony Doerr
“In her searing story, Dani Shapiro makes the most disquieting discovery: that everything, from her lineage, to her father, down to her very own sense of self is an astounding error.... The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.” —Andre Aciman
“An extraordinary memoir that speaks to themes as current as today’s headlines and as old as human history.... This beautifully crafted book is full of wisdom and heart, showing that what we don’t know about our parents may not be as important as what we do.” —Will Schwalbe
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Extensive introspection wasn't what I thought I had signed up for when I bought this book, but it turned out to be fascinating enough that I read it in one sitting.
I think Ms. Shapiro comes off as way too self-indulgent and absorbed. She should try to enjoy her life and stop looking at the past.
Dani discovers, almost by accident, after her half-sister, mentions that she might want to take a DNA test, that their father is not her biological father. She is 54 when she learns this news. Looking back, there have been numerous hints over the course of her life, that she never pursued, that indicated that this might have been the case, but she never had reason to explore or question if her father was indeed her biological father. After all, she loved him. And, this is not something that occurs to most people. Even if she felt that she didn’t belong, in the sense of feeling different or looking different, her father was her person and her family, her people.
What she pieces together, along with the help of her husband, other members of her remaining extended family, and elderly friends of her long-deceased father, is remarkable.
I cried so often over the course of reading the book. For Dani's memory and what it would become or how it would be altered and for her love of a man who seemed bigger than life both during the time that he was alive and long after he died. For her caring, loving, and insightful elderly aunt who summed up Dani’s existence and place in their family with words that any person, lost or otherwise, deserves to hear and her display of true love that I hope envelop her for the rest of her years. For the miracle of science and social media, despite its weaknesses, how it can bring people together in ways we could never have imagined.
INHERITANCE is the experience of family dynamics, medical ethics, the culture of Orthodox Judaism, the wonder of memory, and complicated grief.
Top international reviews
Granted, the shock of learning that one's father isn't really one's father must be profound; and Shapiro does a brilliant job of (albeit dramatically) documenting the layers and elements of such an experience. But I took issue with the numerous mentions she makes of previous trauma she's undergone (when her infant son nearly died of a rare disease, when her parents were in an eventually fatal accident) because they had already been written into previous memoirs. I'm not a fan of literary series, and would have rather waited to read one Shapiro memoir covering all these events, and not had to wade through so much repetition. Similarly, when I wondered to myself what the deal was between the writer and her mother, or if she has any contact with relatives on her mother's side at all, or whether she's taking her husband Michael Maren for granted, I had to shrug and assume she'd already covered those bits in previous works.
As a mom of twin 11-year olds, I sussed her out immediately as being immature and self-centered as only a child can be with the repetition of "always" and "never," (every day somebody told her she doesn't look Jewish, not a single day goes by I don't think of my father, even under oath she claims to have never answered to her given name while admitting to us that's not true). At one point Shapiro writes rather self-effacingly about herself, "as if I had been swept into someone's novel - someone's melodramatic novel - and I was playing a character rather than living my life" but no, my take on this author is that she is the writer of melodramatic memoirs, that she enjoys living a rather melodramatic life. She chronicles her shock and grief and trauma in a way that I find a bit oblivious or tasteless given the goings-on in this day and age.
In Japan, mixed bloods like me are called "Haffu," in Hawaii we're "Happa," but we are raised to be glass half-full and see ourselves as "Double" and "Both." It bothered me that Shapiro elaborates so about her negatives, when she's not orphaned, plenty of fathers love children who aren't theirs biologically, and it seems to me nobody took her Judaism away from her... but maybe I'm wrong and all this has been addressed in previous writings. I will never know, and I'm fine with that. And for anybody who believes Shapiro's implying that no Jews look Aryan, read Blonde Poison, Mischling, Nowhere's Child, and check out Hessy Taft.
A good exploration of the ethics of sperm donation when all concerned imagined that this beginning could remain a secret.
Beautifully written, I read it in one sitting.
The writing, the thinking the emotional draw of the narrative makes one feel as if you are indeed sitting right next to each other.
I enjoyed everything about this book, (as I expected to) from the unfolding of the story and its reflections, to the lovely picture of the author on the book jacket that conveyed the smile of a genuine soul, I felt blessed to have shared some time with. ♥
Ms Shapiro went to a religious school, yet she professes not to have known that in her faith, religion is passed through the mother and not the father. That is simply unbelievable. Then, when she finds out, she simply ignores that fact. As well, her contacting her biological father leaves a sour taste. What he did as a young student was based on anonymity, yet she forced herself upon him. Eventually, she achieved contact with him by promising that she would not expose his role. I doubt if simply changing his name and the names of his family members in the book is enough to fully conceal his identity.