Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets—a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.

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.

Title:Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
ISBN:9781524732714
Format Type:

About Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. She lives with her family in LItchfield County, Connecticut. Her latest memoir, Inheritance, will be published by Knopf in January, 2019.


    Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love Reviews

  • Elyse Walters

    Audiobook.... read by Dani Shapiro!I love her! I love her!!!!!I *love* Dani Shapiro!!!!!I really ‘could’ listen to Dani read the phone book!!!Keeping with tradition... having listened to Dani read...

  • Brandice

    Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love is Dani Shapiro’s story of discovering at the age 54, through a simple DNA test, that her dad is not in fact her biological father - Something...

  • Michael

    My full review can be found on BookBrowse.A compelling exploration of paternity, identity, and belonging, Inheritance centers on a shocking discovery about the author's ancestry. In early 2016, after ...

  • Julie Ehlers

    But here I was. An inconvenient truth that had indeed been born from his own body.... My very existence was due to the fact that he never dreamt he'd have to deal with such a thing.As the book descrip...

  • Carol

    My sincere thanks to Author Dani Shapiro, Edelwiess, and Random House Publishing for providing this e-galley in exchange for my honest review. Inheritance: A Memoir of Geneaolgy, Paternity and Love wa...

  • Rebecca

    Dani Shapiro was used to strangers’ comments about her blond hair and blue eyes. How could it be that she was raised an Orthodox Jew? people wondered. It never occurred to her that there was any tru...

  • Jana

    Wow. I don’t usually read a book this fast. I listened to this one on audible, excellently narrated by the author.I love her writing. This is only the second book I’ve read by her, but her writing...

  • Jennifer Blankfein

    Incredible story expressed so beautifully. Full review to come on Book Nation by Jen. ...

  • Marika

    Not many memoirs make me sit up and say woah. Dani Shapiro's book *Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love* is THAT book. Dani, like many of us, submitted a sample of DNA for testing a...

  • Edith

    2 1/2 stars. Dani Shapiro unexpectedly learns, at the age of 54, as a result of a DNA test, that the man she knew as her father was not biologically related to her. She and her husband very quickly fi...