And the Bride Closed the Door (w/ Jessica Cohen and Bethany Ball)
Monday November 11: 7:30PM – 8:30PM
Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the event.
On the 2nd floor, the Strand will be hosting an event for acclaimed Israeli novelist Ronit Matalon's final novel, And The Bride Closed The Door. In conversation will be Jessica Cohen, the books translator, novelist Bethany Ball, and literature professor Gil Hochberg.
In this moving and humorous look at contemporary Israel and the chaotic ups and downs of love everywhere, a young bride shuts herself up in a bedroom on her wedding day, refusing to get married. Her family gathers outside the locked door, not knowing what to do. The bride's mother has lost a younger daughter in unclear circumstances. Her grandmother is hard of hearing, yet seems to understand her better than anyone. Ilan, a cousin who likes to wear women’s clothes and jewelry, clings to his grandmother like a little boy. The family tries an array of unusual tactics to ensure the wedding goes ahead, including a psychologist specializing in brides who change their mind and a ladder truck from the Palestinian Authority electrical company. The only communication they receive from behind the door are scribbled notes, one of them a cryptic poem about a prodigal daughter returning home. The harder they try to reach the defiant woman, the more convinced is the despairing groom that her refusal should be respected. But what, exactly, ought to be respected? Is this merely a case of cold feet? A feminist statement? A mourning ritual for a lost sister?
Ronit Matalon (1959-2017) was the author of nine novels and a liberal social activist. The daughter of Egyptian immigrants to Israel, she worked as a journalist for Haaretz and reported from the West Bank and Gaza. Her last book, And the Bride Closed the Door, was awarded Israel’s prestigious Brenner Prize the day before her death at age 58.
Jessica Cohen, translator of And the Bride Closed the Door, shared the 2017 Man Booker International Prize with author David Grossman for her translation of A Horse Walks into a Bar. She has translated works by Amos Oz, Etgar Keret, Dorit Rabinyan, Ronit Matalon and Nir Baram.
Bethany Ball is the author of What to Do About the Solomons. She has lived in Sante Fe, New Jersey, Miami and Israel.
Gil Hochberger is Ransford Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, and Middle East Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the intersections among psychoanalysis, postcolonial theory, nationalism, gender and sexuality. She has published essays on a wide range of issues including: Francophone North African literature, Palestinian literature, the modern Levant, gender and nationalism, cultural memory and immigration, memory and gender, Hebrew Literature, Israeli and Palestinian Cinema, Mediterraneanism, Trauma and Narrative.