Ganek, Danielle 1965- (Danielle DiGiacomo)
Ganek, Danielle 1965- (Danielle DiGiacomo)
Born 1965; daughter of Frank DiGiacomo (a vice president of W.R. Grace); married David Ganek (founder of Level Global Investors); children: three. Education: Franklin and Marshall College, B.A., 1985. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting art.
Worked for magazines, including Woman's Day and Mademoiselle; Galeries Lafayette (department store chain), creative director. Associated with the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art; serves on the boards of trustees of the Southampton Fresh Air Home and Leadership Council of the Robin Hood Foundation.
Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2007.
Danielle Ganek, daughter of Frank DiGiacomo, a former financial vice president of W.R. Grace, was raised in Switzerland and Brazil. She and her husband, David Ganek, are patrons of the arts and collectors of the fine art that hangs in their Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan. Ganek infuses her knowledge of, and passion for, art into her first novel, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, the title of which reflects the title of the missing painting that is the focus of this story. Ganek began the novel while the family was living in Greenwich, Connecticut, but in 2005, they moved to New York, which Ganek told New York Sun reporter Amanda Gordon is a "‘better place to write. Life in the 'burbs, you spend so much time in your car. When we moved here, that was time I got back for my work,’ she said."
In speaking with Ruth La Ferla, a writer for the New York Times, Ganek said that the story of Mia McMurray, her protagonist, is somewhat biographical. Like Mia, Ganek has tried her hand at creating art. Whereas Ganek has turned to collecting at the Chelsea galleries and other art venues available to her in New York, Mia works at a gallery but is not, as Ganek writes, one of the "pretentious creatures in intellectual fashion and high heels, dripping with attitude and sarcasm." Like these gallerinas, who are part of the décor, Mia sits behind a stainless steel and concrete desk greeting guests.
The painting of the story is by Jeffrey Finelli, a rising one-armed artist who is hit by a cab while in New York attending his opening. The value of his paintings, and especially the large-canvas Lulu, instantly skyrockets in value. Ganek populates her story with the people who subsequently want the painting. Finelli's niece Lulu, who claims to be the young girl in the painting, is now grown and a success on Wall Street. She must vie with the very rich and powerful to recover her uncle's work. Other characters include Mia's despised boss, gallery owner Simon Pryce, and buyers like Connie Kantor, who is married to a toilet-paper-dispenser magnate, and Martin Better, a real-estate developer who thinks nothing of spending millions of dollars for a piece of art that pleases him. Mia, meanwhile, falls for Zach Roberts, a handsome young art dealer, reaffirming the novel's chick lit status.
New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin commented that this "is a genre book, but it's better than most." A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded that "what most clearly animates this debut, and sets it apart, is a real sense that art matters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2007, Danise Hoover, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, p. 72.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2007, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him.
Library Journal, June 15, 2007, Lisa Davis-Craig, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, p. 54.
New York Times, May 28, 2007, Janet Maslin, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him; June 3, 2007, Ruth La Ferla, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him and interview.
Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2007, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, p. 52.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, p. 8.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (January 8, 2008), Michael Leonard, review of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him.
Danielle Ganek Home Page,http://www.danielleganek.com (January 8, 2008).
New York Sun Online,http://www.nysun.com/ (May 31, 2007), Amanda Gordon, "With Novel, Art-ful Author Finally Has It All."
USA Today Online,http://www.usatoday.com/ (May 28, 2007), Jocelyn McClurg, "Well-Heeled Art Collector Publishes a Lulu of a Novel."