Profiled in the The New York Times' Style section this weekend--Galt Niederhoffer, author of the new novel A Taxonomy of Barnacles. Turns out this novel is a thinly-veiled account of her own growing up years in the household of a flamboyant and colorful money manager father, whose fortunes and marriages have risen and fallen like a spectacular and dizzying roller coaster ride.
Galt Niederhoffer's first novel, "A Taxonomy of Barnacles" (St. Martin's Press), is a kind of modernized Victorian comedy of manners: A wealthy, eccentric patriarch declares, with social Darwinist flourish, that his six daughters must compete for his fortune. Whoever can best carry on the Barnacle name gets the Barnacle cash. Much of the book is devoted to the amorous to-ings and fro-ings of the two eldest (Jewish) Barnacle sisters and the cute (WASP) Finch twins next door. In the end a Barnacle son appears unexpectedly.
Galt is one of six sisters. Her father's wives, ex, and soon-to-be-ex figure into the mix. And in a life-imitating-art twist, her father is now awaiting the birth of a seventh child--a long-awaited son--conceived by egg donation, and being carried to term by a surrogate. He and his new fiance plan to raise this child.
Obviously, Galt has much material to draw on for her novel. She confesses to toning it all down just a bit. "Me transposing myself into the world of Jane Austen".