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Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging (Hardcover)

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Description


An acclaimed journalist travels the globe to solve the mystery of her ancestry, confronting the question at the heart of the American experience of immigration, race, and identity: Who are my people?

“A thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what makes us who we are . . . and the values and ideals that bind us together as Americans.”—Barack Obama

“A rich and revealing memoir . . . Futureface raises urgent questions having to do with history and complicity.”—The New York Times

The daughter of a Burmese mother and a white American father, Alex Wagner grew up thinking of herself as a “futureface”—an avatar of a mixed-race future when all races would merge into a brown singularity. But when one family mystery leads to another, Wagner’s post-racial ideals fray as she becomes obsessed with the specifics of her own family’s racial and ethnic history.

Drawn into the wild world of ancestry, she embarks upon a quest around the world—and into her own DNA—to answer the ultimate questions of who she really is and where she belongs. The journey takes her from Burma to Luxembourg, from ruined colonial capitals with records written on banana leaves to Mormon databases, genetic labs, and the rest of the twenty-first-century genealogy complex. But soon she begins to grapple with a deeper question: Does it matter? Is our enduring obsession with blood and land, race and identity, worth all the trouble it’s caused us?

Wagner weaves together fascinating history, genetic science, and sociology but is really after deeper stuff than her own ancestry: in a time of conflict over who we are as a country, she tries to find the story where we all belong.

Praise for Futureface

“Smart, searching . . . Meditating on our ancestors, as Wagner’s own story shows, can suggest better ways of being ourselves.”—Maud Newton, The New York Times Book Review

“Sincere and instructive . . . This timely reflection on American identity, with a bonus exposé of DNA ancestry testing, deserves a wide audience.”Library Journal

“The narrative is part  Mary Roach–style participation-heavy research, part family history, and part exploration of existential loneliness. . . . The journey is worth taking.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] ruminative exploration of ethnicity and identity . . . Wagner’s odyssey is an effective riposte to anti-immigrant politics.”Publishers Weekly 

About the Author


Alex Wagner is co-host and executive producer of Showtime’s The Circus, a national correspondent for CBS News, and a contributing editor to The Atlantic. She lives in New York City.

Praise For…


Futureface raises urgent questions having to do with history and complicity. . . . A rich and revealing memoir.”The New York Times

“A thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what makes us who we are . . . and the values and ideals that bind us together as Americans.”—Barack Obama

“Smart, searching . . . Meditating on our ancestors, as Wagner’s own story shows, can suggest better ways of being ourselves.”—Maud Newton, The New York Times Book Review

“Sincere and instructive . . . This timely reflection on American identity, with a bonus exposé of DNA ancestry testing, deserves a wide audience.”Library Journal

“The narrative is part Mary Roach–style participation-heavy research, part family history, and part exploration of existential loneliness. . . . The journey is worth taking.”—Kirkus Reviews

“[A] ruminative exploration of ethnicity and identity . . . Wagner’s odyssey is an effective riposte to anti-immigrant politics.”Publishers Weekly 

“Alex Wagner is brilliant and hilarious. Futureface is a magic trick: She starts with the humble story of a third-culture kid’s existential loneliness and ends with a smart, timely, and moving exploration of family lies, exile and immigration, genetics, and the mystery of human belonging.”—Eddie Huang, bestselling author of Fresh Off the Boat
 
Futureface is an important contribution to the American conversation—Alex Wagner’s story is insightful, moving, informative, and searing. I have deeply admired Alex for a long time as an original thinker, a keenly observant journalist, and a funny, empathetic human being. Read this book and you’ll understand why.”—Wes Moore, bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore


Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812997941
ISBN-10: 0812997948
Publisher: One World
Publication Date: April 17th, 2018
Pages: 352
Language: English