The Barnacle sisters--Bell, Bridget, Benita, Beryl, Belinda and Beth--have been raised in New York bytheir eccentric, self-made father in a fabulous, gigantic Fifth Avenue apartment that, encrusted with Barry Barnacle's scientific collections, feels like a little piece of the Museum of Natural History transplanted to the other side of Central Park. Now that most of the sisters have come of age, Barry Barnacle proposes a contest, a test of wits and wills that should at long last settle what is to Barry the most essential of all questions: nature, or nurture? Whichever of his daughters can most spectacularly carry on his name will inherit his fortune; the others are out cold.
It's a proposition to set a Jane Austen heroine on her ear, but in Galt Niederhoffer's A Taxonomy of Barnacles, the Barnacle girls are up to the challenge. Throw the girls' mother Bella and their childhood crushes--the Finch twins next door--into the mix and the stage is set for a completely inventive and utterly fresh social comedy that is as beautifully written as it is unique.