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We all receive an inheritance. We inherit a sharp nose or wide eyes. We inherit furniture, fishing trophies, journals and baking dishes. Some of us inherit money. But most of what we inherit are stories, or a combination of stories and charged silences. Each of us is shaped by the story we have been told about where we came from, what our people have survived or accomplished, what kind of life we deserve.
While I worked on Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, a novel about a wealthy family that loses their money, I thought about how we carry the past with us, whether it’s in the form of objects, stories, memories or means. I thought about how an inheritance might offer tremendous freedom and sometimes tugs with tremendous weight.
Here are five books about inheritances gained, lost and wished for. What truly belongs to us? What happens when we end up with more than we expected, or less?
Featured Image: Elsa Jenna; Author Photo: Teo Grossman