Today marks the release date for A Wedding in Great Neck, the latest novel by Yona Zeldis McDonough. My Machberet wishes Yona a hearty Mazel Tov!
Some of you may recognize Yona for her role as fiction editor for Lilith magazine. I can still remember picking up the phone in my kitchen 10 years ago when Yona called to let me know that she and the magazine wanted to publish my short story (which the magazine retitled “Polar Region”). Yona is responsible for affirming and advancing the work of so many fiction writers, especially those of us on the emerging end of things. We owe her a lot.
Which is one reason why I was so happy to be offered a complimentary advance reading copy of A Wedding in Great Neck, and why I’m equally pleased to give it a public shout-out here. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know that I read this hefty book in all of two days. It’s a family story–reminiscent of tales spun by Jonathan Tropper and Joshua Henkin–that takes place in a brief span (in this case, a single wedding day). There are lots of Jewish characters, some of whom you’ll likely respond to more positively than others. (Personally, I wanted to shake teenaged Justine more than once, especially each time she began spouting off against Israel.)
Here’s wishing Yona and her new book much success as they meet the world together.
The weekly collection of writing-related resources, news, and reflections to read over the weekend.
Let’s start with an important question, raised this time in the context of Michael Chabon’s latest novel: “Can a white author write black characters?” Tanner Colby says yes. (via Page-Turner)
Next: Poet Mark Doty describes “the hardest job in publishing: editing an anthology.”
What happens when writers don’t finish the job they’ve contracted to do? For some authors who received advances from Penguin–for books they ultimately didn’t deliver–the answer is now: lawsuits. (via Publishers Lunch)
Definitely worth reading: Cathy Day’s “next big thing” is Literary Citizenship.
Last, but by no means least (and, I believe, very much in the spirit of literary citizenship): Many of you know that I’ve been part of the Fiction Writers Review community for some time. FWR is currently undertaking a writing-focused fundraiser (“The Great Write Off”). I’m not able to participate as fully as I’d like to right now, but I *have* made a contribution to support the overall project. If you’ve ever appreciated any of the content on the FWR site, perhaps you’ll consider doing the same. Thank you!
Frankly, it’s not possible for me to post about “work” today, when I am observing Yom Kippur. I am writing this post several days in advance, and I’ll schedule it to post on Wednesday, but I can’t quite bring myself to write about “work” for a post that will appear on Yom Kippur.
Rather, and in the spirit of sharing how Yom Kippur (and the High Holy Days more generally) have inspired some of my past writings (as I mentioned last week), I’d like to share a bit more about the holiday with you.
I’ll point you to this wonderful collection of resources on Yom Kippur compiled by the Union for Reform Judaism. One of my favorite finds here is the “Music for the Holy Days” playlist from Temple Emanu-El here in New York City. If you care to take a listen, and the music is new to you, may I signal my favorites–”Avinu Malkeinu” and “Kol Nidre”–to begin? I’m always powerfully moved by the music of the Holy Day services. I suspect that regardless of your faith, something about this music will touch you, too.