Family in the 21st century

Marina Kamenev
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Here’s an exercise: take a piece of paper. Grab a pen, pencil, crayon — any drawing utensil within reach. Now, draw a typical family.

The shape of family has changed in the 21st century. While the nuclear family still exists, many more types of kinship surround us.

Kin is an investigation into what influences us to have children and the new ways that have made parenthood possible. It delves into the experiences of couples without children, single parents by choice and rainbow families, and investigates the impacts of adoption, sperm donation, IVF and surrogacy, and the potential for a future of designer babies. Assisted reproductive technology has developed quickly, and the ways in which we think and speak about its implications — both legally and ethically — need to catch up.

Written by journalist Marina Kamenev, Kin: Family in the 21st century is an incisive and powerful look at how families are created today, and how they might be created in the future.

‘A careful and compassionate exploration of the creativity, pain and power involved in the eternally imperfect art of family making.’ — Gina Rushton, author of The Most Important Job in the World

‘A forensically researched book that’s impossible to put down, Kamenev deftly demonstrates how society’s understanding of family has changed through the generations and what it might mean now. You’ll be thinking about the issues she explores for years to come.’ — Isabelle Oderberg, author of Hard to Bear: Investigating the science and silence of miscarriage

‘Told with deep insight and heart, this groundbreaking book will broaden and transform your understanding of what defines and constitutes a family. A thoroughly quotable triumph.’ — Nadine J. Cohen, author of Everyone and Everything

‘A thorough and fascinating investigation into the myriad ways and complicated ethics of making modern families that explodes the outdated notion of the nuclear unit.’ — Alexandra Collier, author of Inconceivable: Heartbreak, bad dates and finding solo motherhood

Kin is a veritable tome on family – from its evolution to the unique ways we build it – that makes clear Western society’s concepts of family, reproduction and kinship need updating. Kamenev’s thoughtful and often witty voice combined with meticulously researched stories makes Kin a fascinating read.’ — Roz Bellamy, author of Mood: A memoir of love, identity and mental health and editor-in-chief of Archer magazine

‘Well researched and animated by a multitude of voices, Kin is a complex and moving account of how our capacity to create new forms of family has not always been accompanied by sufficient reflection. At the same time, Kin reveals the ways in which those who want to restrict the medical procedures that make these contemporary families draw from conservative notions of the traditional family and biological essentialism that are often at odds with their broader political beliefs. Kin is an important addition to our understanding of how modern kinship relations are understood, generated, and regulated.’ — Fiona Kelly, Dean of La Trobe University law school and an expert in family and health law

Contributor Bio

Marina Kamenev is the former deputy arts editor of the Moscow Times and has been widely published in the Atlantic, Time, Sunday Life, The Monthly and Marie Claire, often writing about family. She lives in Sydney and is the mother of two. This is her first book.