Conversation moderated by author Sarah Hepola
In the spring of 2016, through DNA analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. In one moment, her entire history crumbled beneath her. Inheritance is a book about secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness, and secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the tale of her own identity, which had been scrupulously hidden from her for more than 50 years, during which time she wrote brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about how 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 is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels. Her work has been broadcast on This American Life, and has appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New Yorker, Elle, and Vogue. She was recently Oprah Winfrey’s guest on Super Soul Sunday.
“Inheritance is Dani Shapiro at her best: a gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family. It raises profound questions about the quandaries and responsibilities engendered by our newfound ability to know what— and whom—we are made of.”
—Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad