Daunt Books has acquired a real-life “genetic detective story” by Dani Shapiro, stemming from the writer’s discovery her father was not her biological parent.
Publisher Željka Marošević acquired British Commonwealth rights for the memoir at a two-publisher auction from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein. Daunt will publish Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love on 6th June as a paperback original and ebook. It was published by Knopf in the US in January, where it debuted on the New York Times bestseller list.
Shapiro wrote the book after submitting her DNA to a genealogy website in spring 2016, leading to the shocking discovery about her father. The synopsis reads: “Shapiro’s parents had died when she was in her twenties. With no one to ask, and only a handful of figures on a webpage, Shapiro sets out to discover the truth about herself and her history. Exploring the themes of genealogy, DNA and science, as well as identity, family and Jewish ancestry, the book captures the extraordinary moment we live in, in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but our capacities to contend with the consequences of what we discover.”
Shapiro is the author of five novels alongside memoirs Hourglass (Knopf), Still Writing (Grove Press), Devotion (Harper Perennial), and Slow Motion (Harper Perennial). Her short fiction, articles and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Elle, Vogue and Granta.
Marošević said: “Like a cross between Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mother’s Laugh and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Inheritance is a genetic detective story; a memoir that reads like a thriller. The book begins with Shapiro’s discovery that she is not her father’s daughter and across 300-pages Shapiro takes us on a thrilling and moving journey as she investigates the secret that has been hiding in plain sight all her life. I haven’t read another book like it, it’s a truly compelling page-turner that combines science with an extraordinary personal story.”
Shapiro added: “I’m very excited to be published in the UK by Daunt Books, and to reach British readers with Inheritance, my most personal and meaningful book to date.”