Nora Ephron: an artist of consolation

I gritted my teeth reading the newspaper reports of the death of Nora Ephron and how she “lost her battle with” and “succumbed to” leukemia. You know how those stock phrases grate on me! Leaving that aside, I was saddened to hear of the death of Ms Ephron, aptly described by Hope For-Lymphoma,  as ” one of the warmest chroniclers of contemporary culture”.

While I enjoyed the wit and warmth of her movies, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally, it was her writing that I truly adored.  As Ariel Levy, remembering her in a piece for the the New Yorker writes, she was “an artist of consolation….her voice was “funny, frank, self-effacing but never self-pitying and utterly intimate.”

Levy recounts her telling of her story of the unraveling of her famous marriage to Carl Bernstein, in her best-selling roman à clef, Heartburn:
That’s how bourgeois I am: at the split second I picked up the pie to throw at Mark, at the split second I was about to do the bravest—albeit the most derivative—thing I had ever done in my life, I thought to myself: Thank God the floor is linoleum and can be wiped up.
“She was telling a tale of woe…but it was somehow deeply comforting: hers was a world where humor always trumped loss.”

Nora Ephron, 1941-2012

Read Nora Ephron in The New Yorker archive.

Photograph by George Rose/Getty Images.