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? And what does it mean to be a family?
Poetic, elliptical ... By pairing the untangling of her family tree with an appreciation of the entanglement of the natural world, Maclear meditates on our desire to impose clear-cut boundaries on what comprises kinship and inheritance, and reminds us of our belonging to larger ecosystems ... Unique ... Bringing in the botanical allows Maclear to imbue her family's story...with a generous, open-handed perspective. The plant world reminds us of our interconnectedness.
Maclear’s writing is poetic in the best sense. Using the image of her mother’s wild, rambling garden as a foundation, Maclear examines these questions in detail, without proposing a pat answer to any of them because, ultimately, they are unanswerable. Instead, Maclear allows the reader to struggle with them as she did, granting her audience the space and silence to reconcile the gaps and secrets in their own lives.