Kinfolks: Falling Off The Family Tree

KinfolksKinfolks: falling off the family tree by Lisa Alther

Becoming a genealogical sleuth due to a cousin's declaration that he is a Melungeon high-spirited Alther's curiousity sends her to dusty courthouse archives, Native American casinos, and locales across Europe and Turkey, and her findings enable her to bring historical Appalachia into focus as a landing place for refugees from all over Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. 

Drolly hilarious and incisive, Alther attempts to decode family secrets, gets to know self-declared Mulungeons, and considers her unexpected ties to Pocahontas, ultimately presenting a provocative take on the South's obsession with skin color.


Lisa Alther was born in 1944 in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she went to public schools.  She was graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in English literature in 1966. After attending the Publishing Procedures Course at Radcliffe College and working for Atheneum Publishers in New York, she moved to Hinesburg, Vermont, where she has lived for thirty years, raising her daughter. She taught Southern Fiction at St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont and Southern fiction at East Tennessee State Univ. in Johnson City, TN.

Alther is the author of five novels -- Kinflicks, Original Sins, Other Women, Bedrock, and Five Minutes in Heaven.  Her reviews and articles have appeared in many periodicals, including the New York Times, Art and Antiques, Los Angeles Times,  and the Boston Globe.

Having lived in London and Paris, she currently divides her time between Vermont and New York and Tennessee. Visit her website.