Unearthing: A Sto­ry of Tan­gled Love and Fam­i­ly Secrets

  • From the Publisher
January 8, 2023

A sear­ing and unfor­get­table mem­oir about a fam­i­ly secret revealed by a DNA test, the lessons learned in its after­math, and the indeli­ble pow­er of love.

A mov­ing account…[and] a reminder of the abun­dance of expe­ri­ence present in all fam­i­lies, and the pow­er and heal­ing that can come from hon­or­ing those many truths.” —The Wash­ing­ton Post

Three months after Kyo Maclear’s father dies in Decem­ber 2018, she gets the results of a DNA test show­ing that she and the father who raised her are not bio­log­i­cal­ly relat­ed. Sud­den­ly Maclear becomes a detec­tive in her own life, unrav­el­ling a fam­i­ly mys­tery piece by piece, and assem­bling the sto­ry of her bio­log­i­cal father. Along the way, larg­er ques­tions arise: what exact­ly is kin­ship? What does it mean to be a fam­i­ly? And how do we belong to larg­er ecosystems?

Unearthing is a cap­ti­vat­ing and propul­sive sto­ry of inher­i­tance that goes beyond hered­i­ty. Infused with moments of sus­pense, it is also a thought­ful reflec­tion on race, lin­eage, and our cul­tur­al fix­a­tion on recre­ation­al genet­ics. Read­ers of Michelle Zauner’s best­seller Cry­ing in H Mart will rec­og­nize Maclear’s unflinch­ing insights on grief and loy­al­ty, and keen per­cep­tions into the rela­tion­ship between moth­ers and daughters.

What gets plant­ed, and what gets buried? What role does sto­ry­telling play in unearthing the past and mak­ing sense of a life? Can the hum­ble act of tend­ing a gar­den pro­vide com­mon ground for an inquis­i­tive daugh­ter and her com­pli­cat­ed moth­er? A love­ly med­i­ta­tion on the hid­den past and the blos­som­ing future” (Kirkus Reviews) and a gen­er­ous, open-hand­ed per­spec­tive” (NPR), Unearthing bursts with the very love it seeks to understand.

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