Nora Ephron hates old age. Nora Ephron is losing her memory. Nora Ephron loves pie. Self-deprecation is a many-splendoured thing, and Ephron, who died last week, perfected it as an art form.
For Ephron, nothing was too sacred (age) or too painful (her second divorce) or too mundane (breakfast) to distil into comedy. She excavated irony and wit from the ordinary corners of her life and alchemised them into essays, touching the full spectrum from bitingly sarcastic to wistful to elegiac and back to comic again.
What Ephron does with her light and pithy touch is to strike the cultural jugular, pare it down and repackage it as little comic gems.
This memoir, Ephrons second, is a free-ranging collection touching upon the travails of email, making lists, failing memory and Teflon pans. Everything is copy, Ephrons mother, a screenwriter, once told her, a lesson she followed, clearly.
Ephrons finest essay in the collection is a look back on her early days as a journalist (Journalism: A Love Story), first as a mail girl in the blatantly sexist Newsweek mailroom of the 1960s and later as a reporter for the New York Post.
Ephrons meditations on her divorce from star journalist Carl Bernstein (The D Word) plumbs the depths of her pain, looking back with cool detachment on how she found out about his affair when she was pregnant and how, in the end, being a divorced woman made her a better wife.
And I survived, she writes of it. My religion is Get Over It. I turned it into a rollicking story. I wrote a novel and bought a house with the money from it. She continues: People always say you forget the pain. Its a cliché of childbirth: You forget the pain. I dont happen to agree. I remember the pain. What you really forget is the love.
WHAT: I remember nothing by Nora Ephron
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Nora Ephron, 71, a screenwriter, director, essayist and journalist, died last week, of leukaemia. She was best known for the films When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle