And The Bride And The Closed Door
Written By: Ronit Matalon
Translated By: Jessica Cohen
And the Bride Closed the Door is a wedding day story that borders itself on being dark times, while also being funny at the most least expected moments.
Written by Israeli author Ronit Matalon, who sadly passed away from cancer the day before she was awarded Israel’s prestigious Brenner Prize.
The story takes place in Tel Aviv, entirely in and around the family house, with a small cast of characters with interesting back stories.
Margie and Matti are scheduled to get married with five hundred people expected in the wedding hall, but the day of the wedding Margie barricades herself in her bedroom and announces “Not getting married.”
And refuses to speak to anyone. While outside the door stands a comically dysfunctional group of family members, that include Matti and his parents along with Margie’s mom, Nadia, her cousin, Ilan, and her grandmother.
All trying to reassure Matti it is just wedding day jitters and she will come to her senses.
During the course of the story we start to learn about various family members and we see Margie and Matti’s story unfold through his eyes and the range of emotions he feels while family members threaten and panic as Margie behind the closed door.
One of the more comical elements of the story is when they ultimately decide to summon a psychologist from a 24/7 emergency service called “Regretful Brides”, when Margie still refuses to speak, Matti’s family takes matters into their own hands by getting a Palestinian Authority electrical company ladder truck to lift the psychologist to Margie’s window.
Some of the more somber memorable elements of the story is when it is revealed toward the end of the novel that Margie had a sister named Natalie that disappeared.
Her mother Nadia, buys a different piece of candy everyday from the corner store and waits until night for her daughter to come home and then hides the candy in a linen box under her bed. At the end of every month her mother puts the candy in bags next to the trash. This is one of the more underdeveloped story lines which shows Margie’s mother hasn’t come to terms that her daughter isn’t coming back. The candy represents her clinging to hope that she will.
In the end the novel has strong themes of Feminism, tradition, family and at the heart of it all disfunction love.
Courtesy Image: New Vessel Press