Monday, 18 January 2016

The Juggler's Children: a journey into family, legend and the genes that bind us by Carolyn Abraham


Long before she wrote The Juggler’s Children, Carolyn Abraham was simply a kid who couldn’t tell her friends where her family came from: it took too long to explain. A child of colour, three continents, and, it seemed, too many countries to list, she would frequently ask her parents a deceptively simple question: “What are we?”
The family tree wasn’t much help. On each side loomed great-grandfathers shrouded in mystery. One was a sea captain and the other a circus juggler. Both were nomadic men who turned up in India in the nineteenth century, and neither stuck around long enough to dispel or confirm the legends that grew up around him. One died young, a hero, and the other, an alleged murderer, disappeared. Leaving behind little more than their genetic legacies, they and their stories had haunted Carolyn since childhood.
As she reported on developments in genetics, she began to wonder – could the genes these men passed down to her family somehow reveal the secrets they took to their graves?
Filled with the humour and warmth of the most engaging family memoirs, and the suspense of unearthing the genetic stories hidden in us all, national bestseller The Juggler’s Children is a global journey that speaks to the heart and mind. It’s a poignant ride through history and modern science that raises moral quandaries and explores the power of our DNA to upend family myth, or cement it. As she searches for answers from India, China, Jamaica, the United States and Canada, Carolyn Abraham strips bare the fabrications of race and makes clear that in all the world there really is only one family tree.
About the Author

Carolyn Abraham is a Canadian freelance journalist and author. She was born in 1968 in London, England, and moved to Canada in 1972 with her parents and three older siblings. She grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario and Mississauga, Ontario.
Abraham graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Carleton University in 1991, and worked for the Ottawa Citizen from 1991 to 1997. She later worked for The Globe and Mail as the senior medical reporter from February 1998 to January 2012. She won a National Newspaper Award in 2008 for her work on diagnosing bipolar disorder in children.]
Her first book, Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain was released in seven countries. It followed the travels of post-autopsy Albert Einstein's brain. It was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for English-language non-fiction at the 2002 Governor General's Awards. Her second book, The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us was released by Random House of Canada on March 26, 2013. It details her use of DNA testing and document searches to learn about her ancestry.

Author's Website


The Globe and Mail
Quill and Quire
The Canadian Geographic

1 comment:

  1. Very enjoyable and informative. I pictured a very large ball of many coloured yarn being untangled and knit, lumps and all, into her story. An amazing genome coloured coat! (like Joseph,s coat of many colours) I now realize that geneology is not for the lazy!