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.