Danielle Geller, "Dog Flowers: A Memoir" (One World, 2021)

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Not long ago, the only resource for uncovering our familial pasts was to consult libraries and archives, combing old newspapers for birth announcements and obituaries. These days, many people are turning to websites like Ancestry and 23andMe, taking DNA tests to learn more about their ancestors and where they came from—often discovering long buried secrets and long lost relatives in the process. But for some, the answers to these questions exist not in archives or in their DNA, but within a suitcase.

When writer Danielle Geller’s estranged mother passed away, she left behind just eight suitcases of belongings, cataloging her wayward spirit, moving between boyfriends, states, and jobs, at times experiencing homelessness. In her debut memoir, Dog Flowers (One World, 2021), Geller, trained as an archivist, consolidates the most important artifacts from the collection—never before seen photographs, documents, letters, and diaries—piecing together a portrait of the mother she grew up without, and reconnecting with her Navajo heritage in the process.

Today on the New Books Network, join us as we sit down to chat with Danielle Geller about her striking family memoir, Dog Flowers, available now from One World (2021).

Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University, where she studies and teaches creative writing and rhetoric & composition. She is the managing editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, and the co-editor of its anthology, The Best of Brevity (Rose Metal Press, 2020).

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