• Inheritance

  • A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love
  • By: Dani Shapiro
  • Narrated by: Dani Shapiro
  • Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,546 ratings)

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Inheritance  By  cover art


By: Dani Shapiro
Narrated by: Dani Shapiro
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Publisher's summary

An Instant New York Times Best Seller 

Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, and National Indie Best Seller 

A Best Book of the Year According to Elle, Real Simple, and Kirkus Reviews

"Memoir gold: a profound and exquisitely rendered exploration of identity and the true meaning of family." (People Magazine

"Beautifully written and deeply moving - it brought me to tears more than once." (Ruth Franklin, The New York Times Book Review)  

From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist - "a writer of rare talent" (Cheryl Strayed) - and host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, 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 an audiobook 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 50 years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is an audiobook 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.

©2019 Dani Shapiro (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

New York Times Editors' Choice

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

Editor's Pick

The dark side of DNA testing
"When I first heard about Inheritance, I have to admit I wrinkled my nose a little—hadn’t I already listened to enough memoirs about FAMILY SECRETS and COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIPS? I mean, sure, it’s one of my favorite sub-genres, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Inheritance, as it turns out, is a perfect little jewel of a memoir. Well into her adult life, Dani Shapiro took a DNA test on a whim—only to discover that her beloved Orthodox Jewish father was not, in fact, her biological father. Naturally, inner turmoil ensues as she sets out to uncover the truth about her past. I don’t know how she does it, but Shapiro’s memoir is somehow an impossible combination of beautiful words, soul-searching insight, and fast-paced thrills. *And* her narration is amazing too—what??! I can think of only one plausible explanation: she must be some kind of word sorcerer."
Rachel S., Audible Editor