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Dani Shapiro Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Playing with Fire (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fugitive Blue (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Picturing the Wreck (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Family History (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black & White (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Signal Fires (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

Dani Shapiro
Dani is the cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She has also taught at New York University and Columbia, as well as writing workshops all around the world.

Dani is a guest editor of Best New American Voices 2010 and a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure.

Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Oprah, Elle, Granta, The New Yorker, among others, and they’ve also been broadcast on NPR.

In 2019, she launched Family Secrets, an original podcast, in collaboration with iHeartMedia. It is an iTunes Top 10 podcast, and it features stories from guests that, like Dani has, uncovered life-changing and long-buried secrets from their families pasts.

“Inheritance” won the 2019 National Jewish Book Award, Wired Magazine named it as one of the year’s top Science books, and was named a best book of 2019 by Vanity Fair.

When she wrote “Inheritance”, she wrote the first two hundred pages fast, like she was on fire. It was like she was writing for her own life, in a sense. Then she put those pages aside to go on tour for another book she wrote. For two months, she didn’t look at her work on this book.

Once she got back home from the tour, she picked up the manuscript once more and took it to the cafe that she does a lot of her writing and reading. She began read, and her heart just sank. She thought that there was something not working with it.

Her editor told her that it was her version of Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, which to Dani made a lot of sense. She was speaking about structure and spareness. At the time, she thought she could write the book without returning to Didion’s work first.

Trauma is something that is recursive, something she learned when she wrote these first two hundred pages. She was only keeping up with the story instead of actually getting ahead of it. She was totally consumed with what her parents knew and when they actually knew it. Each time she came back to this question, she was in the exact same place, as it was not an evolving question for her. She was just in a disorienting place, only grasping at straws.

With this book, she had to think about things that made her story universal, for the first time as a memoir writer. She had to think about what she was learning about identity, what it’s like to be a family, the nature vs nurture debate? And what it’s like to be a secret kept for a whole lifetime? These things helped her as she tried to create a book that she wanted anybody to find themselves in.

She took three years writing this book, buried in all the research and the reporting aspects of it all.

Once she learned about who her father was, she felt explained. Once she learned who her biological dad was, she understands that she looks more Western European like her dad.

Her debut novel, called “Playing With Fire”, was released in the year 1990. She writes both general fiction and memoir non-fiction.

“Family History” is the fourth stand alone novel and was released in the year 2003. One woman loses control of her marriage, her whole life, and her kids, learning that you can do it all right and still find the world that you’ve made is slipping away from you. This is a family spiraling right toward disintegration, a mom’s nightmare like realization that she cannot keep her own kids safe, and the horrible force of guilt in kids.

Rachel Jensen’s got it all: challenging job in art restoration, a husband that she adores, a wonderful teen daughter, and a brand new baby on the way. Then her son gets injured in an accident in the arms of her daughter, and this accident begets one horrifying lie.

While the life the Jensens carefully built starts slowly collapsing, we see with excruciating clarity the very frailty of our most strongest allegiances and the precarious ledge upon which our most crucial relations (parenthood and marriage) are balanced.

“Black & White” is the fifth stand alone novel and was released in the year 2007. Clara Brodeur has spent all of her adult life pulling away from her famous mom, the controversial and renowned photographer Ruth Dunne. Her huge reputation rests entirely on all the unsettling nude portraits that she took of her young daughter.

Sick of her notoriety as “the girl in the pictures” she fled New York City at the age of eighteen, settling down and making a family of her own in a tiny town in Maine. Years later, however, when Ruth reaches out to Clara on her deathbed, she finds herself pulled right back into the past that she believed she had escaped. The novel asks the important question: How do we forgive those that failed to protect us?

“Inheritance” is a memoir and was released in the year 2019. One staggering family secret is uncovered due to a genealogy test: one exploration of the urgent ethical questions that surround DNA testing and fertility treatments, as well as a profound inquiry on love, paternity, and identity.

What exactly makes us who we are? What combination of history, experience, biology, experience, and that one ineffable thing that’s called the soul defines everybody?

During the spring of 2016, through one genealogy site that she whimsically submitted her DNA to be analyzed, Dani got the shocking news that her dad wasn’t her biological dad. She woke one morning and her whole history, the life she was living, crumbled all around her.

“Inheritance” is the story of secrets, within families and kept out of either self-protectiveness or shame. And secrets that people keep from each other in the name of love. It is the tale of one woman’s urgent journey to unlock the story about her own identity and a tale that’s been scrupulously hidden from her for over five decades. Years that she spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes about family history and identity.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Dani Shapiro

One Response to “Dani Shapiro”

  1. Barb Hume: 1 year ago

    Dear Dani Shapiro
    Do the words “My Dear Future Friend ” mean anything to you?
    Just a shot in the dark-ignore if you haven’t a clue about this.


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