Kinship Theory

Little, Brown and Co., 2001

“Who better than a mother to do it? It’s just reversing the natural order a bit.” That’s how Dale explains to her mother that she wants her to bear the child Dale herself cannot have. When Maggie, forty-seven and divorced, agrees, and through gestational surrogacy is soon carrying Dale’s baby, the lives of both women quickly change in unexpected ways. This powerfully involving novel, which marks the debut of a fresh and singular voice in American fiction, succeeds brilliantly in capturing a world rife with emotional hazard—the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

Acclaim for Kinship Theory

“Kaplan explores complex issues intimately and with extraordinary skill…Her novel is subtle in execution, yielding a nuanced insight into the treacherous but redemptive nature of maternal and romantic bonds”

Publishers Weekly

“‘Maggie Crown was pregnant with her daughter’s baby and she was alone.” As the opening sentence of a novel about family relationships, that is a winner! … A very engaging book.


Kinship Theory deals with issues that resonate.”

James Polk

Washington Post

“An intelligent and enjoyable novel….Some of the fine observation that distinguished Ms. Kaplan’s debut short-story collection, The Edge of Marriage, returns….Ms. Kaplan is to be admired for taking on challenging material….Her insights into the strains of this unusual circumstance ring true.”

The Economist

“Kaplan meticulously and precisely mines the depths of passion and sentiment, creating a gliterring web of betrayals, alliances, feuds and resentments….The richness and maze of conscious and unconscious longings and regrets implicate and ensnare everyone….Kaplan gets it all.”

Sam Coale

Providence Journal

“Kaplan’s story refuses to hew to formula….She writes about Maggie’s most intimate moments and her most mundane with an attention to detail that is overwhelming….The minutiae are more than matched by the drama that determines which mother ends up with custody of Lily, the baby. The surprising denouement is both rewarding and revelatory.”

Dana Kennedy

New York Times Book Review