Sisterhood Blog

Q&A With Novelist Yona Zeldis McDonough

By Sarah Seltzer

“A Wedding in Great Neck:” Family Mishegas Arrives Just in Time for the Nuptials

Yona Zeldis McDonough’s new novel “A Wedding in Great Neck” takes place over the course of a single day, as a Jewish family gathers for the lavish wedding (to a handsome Israeli) of Angleica, the aptly-named youngest daughter who at least appears to be the apple of the family’s eye.

In the fabled locale where Gatsby’s (and P. Diddy’s) parties epitomize American aspiration, the clan begins to fray at the edges while the band and photographer set up and the sky threatens rain. Among McDonough’s memorable characters are teenage Justine, whose surface anti-Israel fervor may mask more serious problems; divorced father of the bride Lincoln, desperate to make good after years of alcoholism, and matriarch Lenore, a bra-fitting expert who decides to take this one day to “fix” everything up for the troubled generations below her: kids, grandkids, great grandkids and more.

In an email exchange with the Sisterhood, McDonough discussed the inspiration behind Lenore, her novel’s structure, and gender in the literary world.

I have read wedding novels and novels that take place in a single day, but never both at once! What gave you the idea to combine them?

I had recently read — and was very impressed by — two other books that took place in a single day. One was the masterpiece “Saturday,” by Ian McEwan, which I thought was truly epic in its scope and depth. The other was Helen Schulman’s well-done and deeply moving “A Day At the Beach.” I was intrigued by the formal problems posed by creating a novel whose story unfolded in a day and I thought a wedding would offer a strong enough armature on which to base a plot structure of that kind.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: yona zeldis mcdonough, a wedding in great neck, books




Find us on Facebook!
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.