Forty years of Nora Ephron’s heartbreak novel Heartburn

Last October, daily mail published an article with the lengthy and cryptic title: ‘When Harry Met Salad!’ Olivia Wilde, by sharing the vinaigrette recipe from Nora Ephron’s book about divorcing her cheating ex-husband, An in-depth revelation of the bombshell of her broken relationship.”

There’s a lot going on in that title. In order to understand it, and understand every nuance of the Harry Met Sarah joke, you have to be familiar with a backstory that spans four decades and involves five different celebrities, living and deceased.

The backstory goes like this. Wilde recently separated from her longtime partner, actor Jason Sudeikis, and is dating a much younger Harry Styles. While courting Styles, Wilde made him a salad with her special vinaigrette — something Sudeikis thought Wilde had exclusive access to before finding out Wilde made a batch for Styles.

Actor Olivia Wilde revealed heartburn was the inspiration for her much-discussed salad dressing.

Actor Olivia Wilde revealed heartburn was the inspiration for her much-discussed salad dressing.Credit:Getty Images

When it all became public, Wilde responded by posting a photo on Instagram of the penultimate page of Nora Ephron’s 1983 novel Heartburn. Photos show Wilde’s vinaigrette recipe isn’t original; she stole it from Ephron’s book.

Since Wilde didn’t comment on the picture, it’s not entirely clear what she was talking about. But one thing is clear enough.Ephron’s Heartburn – which just celebrated its 40th anniversary of publication – still resonates. Like all good literature, it still has the ability to gain insight into the lives of its readers.

Heartburn Inspired by the breakdown of the author’s own celebrity marriage. In 1976, Ephron married journalist Carl Bernstein. At the time, Bernstein was one-half of the most famous reporting duo in the world.with bob woodward who spearheaded the Washington postThe investigation into Watergate.

book by woodward and bernstein all the president’s men Appeared in 1974. Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency the same year, hopelessly compromised by the scandal Woodward and Bernstein had helped uncover. When their book was made into a movie in 1976, Bernstein was played by Dustin Hoffman.

Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein in New York in 1978.

Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein in New York in 1978.Credit:Getty Images

In 1979, Efron, pregnant with her second child, discovered that Bernstein was in love with another woman. Divorce proceedings started in 1980. Ephron started writing Heartburn Before long, partly as a form of therapy, partly as an act of literary revenge.

Often, it is a mistake to equate the narrator of a novel with the the case of Heartburnit’s wrong not to. The novel’s narrator is named Rachel, apparently Efron herself. Rachel’s cheating husband, Mark, is not a well-known investigative reporter, but there is no doubt that he is Bernstein at heart.

Sadly, Efron never wrote a novel after that Heartburn. But the success of the book helped accelerate her career as a filmmaker.after scripting Heartburn film adaptation, she wrote when harry met sally. She then went on to direct her own screenplays, producing a series of witty romantic comedies — Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got mail – This makes the 1990s a golden age for the genre.

celebrate HeartburnOn my 40th birthday, I just read the novel in three formats: paperback, ebook, and audiobook. I’ve also seen this movie with Meryl Streep as Rachel and Jack Nicholson as Mark.

Ephron has been dead for over a decade; she died of leukemia in 2012.but in Heartburn, she still exists dazzlingly.There are writers alive today whose stuff, from a medical point of view, is as Heartburn.

At the beginning of the book, Rachel gets angry when someone accuses her of being “too New York.” “I’d rather be too New York than too New York,” she replied. This sentence speaks volumes for Ephron’s linguistic dexterity. She can defuse insults by turning them into her own verbal coup—in this case, sly anti-Semitic insults.

Like all good writers, Efron is allergic to clichés. She won’t let a useless phrase pass without interrogating and improving it. Just by rearranging a few words, she can turn well-worn figures of speech into surprisingly original aphorisms. “Let’s face it,” Rachel said at one point, “everyone Is the one person on earth you shouldn’t be involved with. “

Nora Ephron at her Manhattan home.

Nora Ephron at her Manhattan home.Credit:Getty Images

Meryl Streep, Read Heartburn The audiobook, does an excellent job of channeling Ephron’s voice. Streep’s readings are bubbly, poignant and provocative. But anger isn’t just directed at other characters. It targets human stupidity, and Rachel is as deeply involved in it as the next person.

Aware of his place in the tradition of Jewish-American humor from Dorothy Parker to Jerry Seinfeld, Efron was as caustic with himself as he was with everyone else.As Freud in Jokes and their relationship to the unconscious, the self-deprecating element in Jewish humor is a defense mechanism rooted in a long history of oppression. By sacrificing his own wit, Jewish humorists can defeat anti-Semites.

After writing

After writing “Heartburn,” Nora Ephron made a name for herself as a film writer.

“When you slip on a banana peel,” as Ephron wrote in one of her articles, “people laugh at you; but when you tell someone you slipped on a banana peel, that’s your joke. So you become a hero and not a victim of a joke.”

One way to measure the durability of Ephron’s novel is to compare it with Heartburn Movies don’t stand up at all. Books are made entirely of words, so there’s only one basic way they can become stale.this Heartburn With its pop synth score and flashy 1980s fashion collection, the film feels dated in eight ways by the end of the credits.

But the deeper problem with this film is that there isn’t enough Efron language in it. In the novel, Rachel hears herself saying the phrase “that’s rich” during an argument with Mark. “All my life I’ve wanted to say, ‘This is rich,'” she added. “Now I finally have my chance.”

Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in the movie Heartburn.

Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in the movie Heartburn.

At moments like these—and the book is full of them—you can get two Ephrons for the price of one. You’ll see what Ephron does when a marriage breaks down. But you’ll also hear from an older, wiser Ephron — who’s writing the book and observing her former self from an ironic distance.

In the film’s corresponding scene, Streep simply says, “Too rich.” That’s it. The author, Rachel, does not have a voice-over, and she laughs at herself saying clichés. A magical ingredient has been subtracted from the scene: not just Ephron’s words, but her entire emotion.

Naturally, Ephron’s book is outdated in several respects. But that’s no reason not to read it. When good novels age, they age in interesting ways. Heartburn shows that while human nature hasn’t changed a little bit since the 1980s, less enduring things like air travel have changed radically. When Rachel flew from Washington to New York, she didn’t buy a ticket first. She boarded the plane, and the plane took off, before a flight attendant walked down the aisle to collect the passenger’s fare.

As for the book’s moral hygiene, some experts will tell you it’s no longer up to the norm. “No one would accuse the book of political correctness,” said a recently revisited American reviewer Heartburn. “My copy is written in pencil ah

It must be tiring to be the kind of person who reaches for a pencil every time a decades-old book violates the laws of language etiquette enacted five minutes ago. Reading is not hypocritical, Heartburn Provides an illuminating reminder that, until recently, progressive American writers — and Efron’s politics were nothing if not progressive — simply thought that linguistic subtlety was not part of their job.

so old fashioned Heartburn yes.ephron not even try Don’t offend people when she writes. She wrote it to be funny — an effect that is notoriously difficult to pull off without causing someone, somewhere, some kind of offense.

Meryl Streep as food critic Rachel Sumstat in Heartburn.

Meryl Streep as food critic Rachel Sumstat in Heartburn.

Dishonesty is also hard to come by – the most important thing is to be honest with yourself, and how your failure exposes the way we are all made of bent wood.One of the more twisted human secrets Heartburn What was revealed was that, in a way, it “felt good” to be tricked.


“There was something very delightful,” Ephron wrote, “from a complicated relationship involving minor atrocities on both sides to a nice, neat, simple relationship in which one person did something so horrific and unforgivable , so that the other person is immediately exonerated. All low sins.

When I highlight that passage on my Kindle, the app tells me that 366 other readers have already highlighted it.this is another sign Heartburn still works. From the ashes of her previous life, Ephron distilled some profound insights that go on to strike people as eternal truths.

This may be the deeper reason why Olivia Wilde was so moved to share that page of Efron’s novel as her own private life went to hell. Heartburn Assure us that things that feel like the end of the world when they happen will look okay — even funny — in time.


Of all the twisted truths this book imparts, the most twisted truth might be Efron, and luckily Bernstein tricked her in the long run.If he didn’t, there would be no heartburn and therefore no HeartburnThere probably won’t be a movie either — no Harry or Sally, no Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in a pastrami sandwich.

“It’s one of the things I’m most proud of,” Ephron said of Heartburn“It was me who managed to turn what seemed to me at the time a horrific tragedy into a comedy—if that’s not fiction, I don’t know what is.”

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