I don't remember much about Book Expo America, now that it's November, but my interview with Nora Ephron at the Knopf offices is one of the few exceptions. She was, quite immediately, hilarious and self-effacing, and for some reason I thought she'd also be tall and commanding, but she's actually rather petite and pixie-ish: she fluttered into the conference room where we met, a bundle of energy with a charming grin, slipped off her shoes and right away began chatting about the challenges of finding shoes that fit and how isn't it true that everyone just looks forward to taking them off anyway? (It is.) This kind of spirited, tangential chatter is exactly what animates her new book, I Remember Nothing, and what makes it such a delight to read (and hear). She's an effortless storyteller, with--as anyone who's seen her films will attest--a terrific feel for dialogue, both of which shine through in this untraditional memoir, a collection of sidelong glances at experiences both formative and fleeting--and always funny. You can listen in to our talk here, or read it below.
Amazon: So, is it wrong to call your new book a memoir, since you remember nothing?
Ephron: It is sort of a memoir. I mean, I'm at the point in my life when I truly remember nothing and I'm not kidding. I mean, have we met? I don't know. But it seem to me that I might write a few things that were memoirs, the ones I still remember anyway. You know, the older you get the more amazing holes exist in your memory. And so I thought I'd better get down what I could before it was all gone!
Amazon: Is there a particular essay in that collection that was the genesis for the rest of the book?
Ephron: I think that I have been thinking a lot about the fact that I honestly remember nothing. That I was in amazing places and if you ask me about them, I remember the most trivial details. And it's practically embarrassing except that I think it's probably fairly common. But I look back on my life, you know, I was at all these amazing events like The Beatles, right? I covered The Beatles! It was probably the moment when the 60s began. It was certainly, it may have been the beginning of the last half of the 20th century! It was a landmark moment. And I went to the Ed Sullivan show and stood in the back with my notebook because I was a newspaper reporter at the time. And all I can remember is a bunch of girls screaming. I couldn't hear them, I remember nothing at all about the rest of it. So, you know, that's me and The Beatles.