The Family Gene:

A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance Into a Hopeful Future

  • Runtime: 7.3 Hours
  • Recording: Unabridged
  • Release date: 3.14.2017
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Genre: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
  • 7.30 hrs3/14/2017Unabridged
  • ISBN-13: 9780062565013

When Joselin Linder was in her twenties, her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling for an explanation, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke.

Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, she approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives made up a founder population—a group of people experiencing the baffling symptoms of a brand-new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain.

Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with family and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with a Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.

Editorial Reviews

“The science is enthralling, the narrative’s race-against-the-clock tension is nail-biting, but at its core, this book is about the remarkable bond of family.”

Susannah Cahalan, New York Times bestselling author

“Three of the most powerful forces in life are family, love, and science. Joselin Linder, through a combination of the fates, found herself in a position to tell a first-person tale of how those forces can intersect, and with heart and insight she does so in a way that will make you ponder many things deep into the night.”

Bob Greene, New York Times bestselling author

“Linder’s writing is magnetic…Leaving us hopeful, heartbroken, and inspired all in the same breath.”

Abby Sher, author of Amen, Amen, Amen

Author Biography

Joselin Linder is a writer living in Brooklyn. She has contributed to NPR’s This American Life and Morning Edition, among other outlets.

Reader Biography

Khristine Hvam studied acting for the theater and film. Her voice can be heard in Pokémon, World of Warcraft, various television and radio commercials, and most notably in over one hundred audiobook titles. She has won five AudioFile Earphones Awards, placed three times as a finalist for the prestigous Audie Award, and won the Audie for best narration in 2012 and 2013.

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