“A fascinating exploration of the mysteries ignited by DNA genealogy testing—from the intensely personal and concrete to the existential and unsolvable.” —Tana French, New York Times–bestselling author
You swab your cheek or spit in a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or, the report could reveal a long-buried family secret that upends your entire sense of identity. Soon a lark becomes an obsession, a relentless drive to find answers to questions at the core of your being, like “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Welcome to the age of home genetic testing.
In The Lost Family, journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. She explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story. Gripping and masterfully told, The Lost Family is a spectacular book on a big, timely subject.
“An urgently necessary, powerful book that addresses one of the most complex social and bioethical issues of our time.” —Dani Shapiro, New York Times–bestselling author
“Before you spit in that vial, read this book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Impeccably researched . . . up-to-the-minute science meets the philosophy of identity in a poignant, engaging debut.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)