By Blood

By Blood

[a Novel]

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

San Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patient's quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's By Blood is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
ISBN: 9781250023964
Branch Call Number: FICTION ULL
Characteristics: 378 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 30, 2015

Book Club 9/30/15

Apr 29, 2015

This book was thrilling. The narrative style is brilliant and the story is highly compelling. It had me utterly obsessed and energized my reading life significantly.

ChristchurchLib Oct 15, 2012

In San Francisco in the 1970s, a disgraced college professor has taken a downtown office to await the verdict of an ethics committee and to plot his return. But he's become distracted by his neighbour's psychotherapy sessions with a woman who seems disturbed by her adoption and the possibility that her birth mother was a Holocaust survivor. Once more showing that he doesn't quite know his boundaries, the professor begins researching this stranger's history, sending her information anonymously. All three individuals - the professor, the therapist, and the client - have something to unearth in this brooding, intellectual story.

October 2012 Next Reads newsletter.

Aug 21, 2012

Completely unnerving. Sometimes slow and hard to read, but definitely worth the slog, especially if you like thriller!

Jun 17, 2012

Well written and interesting story with two storylines--1970s backdrop and 1940s back story.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top