After completing a degree in economics, he couldn’t find a job in the field. So he wrote a journal, which he published as a novel in 1998. This debut novel, The Wisdom of the Pretzel, became a hysterical bestseller against all odds, selling over 130,000 copies! Since then, Heitner has been a bestselling author for over twenty years, selling more than 500,000 copies of his many books in Israel.
About Ilan’s unique writing style:
“The more personal you get, the more universal you become”—this is Heitner’s motto. When people go to the bookstore and ask for books that are similar to Ilan Heitner’s, the response is always the same: “There are none.” His books are one of a kind—honest, subversive, incredibly moving. Readers recognize themselves in the stories and laugh out loud.
In his books, he uncovers his inner truth and touches the hearts of readers. In his early days, his style was compared to Seinfeld’s for his emphasis on embarrassing moments and minutia.
Even though all of Heitner’s books were published by one of Israel’s major publishing houses, because he originally self-published his first novel, he has reserved the rights to all his books.
Heitner is married and has four children. He has written and directed two films, and teaches popular writing workshops with an emphasis on personal development. After his wife, who claimed they didn’t spend enough time together because he was stressed out and stretched thin, threatened him with divorce, the entire family went on a year-long trip in Southeast Asia. This trip was the influence for his most recent and favorite book, 7,250.
Wisdom of the Pretzel
King of the Hummus
It all started after we had a fight. She came home and told me, “Shelly and Danny just returned from a year-long trip around the world, and it saved their marriage. Let’s go, too.”
“No way! What am I, nuts?” I said. “Who goes on a year-long trip around the world?”
“We either go, or we break up. I can’t go on like this!”
I told her there was no way. I wasn’t going to do it. But then I got a call from our landlord, saying he was raising our rent. I called my wife immediately and said, “All right, let’s do it. I want to work on our marriage.”
Ilan Heitner, author of bestsellers The Wisdom of the Pretzel, Meatballs, The Man, and others, returns with a funny, painful, and moving book about growth and change, about the struggle to love fully, and the passion to live life and feel life to the fullest, while trying to figure out what all these clichés actually mean.
A spiritual person is simply a person trying to figure out how this whole life business works, that’s all. No homeopathic remedies, no yoga, no veganism, and no meditation. That’s not spiritual. A guy who watches all his friends get married and is totally desperate, sitting alone on a Saturday afternoon, wondering—What the hell happened? Why not me? That’s when spirituality hits. In other words, when God wants to be found by someone, He delays their marriage. That’s all. He did it to me.
King of the Hummus
Sometimes I walk down the street and ask myself where everyone is going. I stop and stare. Where’s that guy headed? And how about that girl over there? And where the hell did they all come from? Where? I stop whatever I’m doing, and wonder if any of them is truly happy. How much do they really care? And another thing I sometimes wonder, is how many of them have a skid mark in their underwear?
The Perfect Idiot
We’re lying in bed. The kid is lying between us. I’ve dreamed about this moment my entire life. A house in the village, a woman I love, a child. We hug and kiss him, then hug each other and consider making love, but we don’t know if it’s a perverted thing to do, with him so close to us.
“Hey, are you happy?” I ask her all of a sudden.
“Not as much as I thought I’d be,” she says. “You?”
“Not as much as I thought I’d be.”
Then we hug and are as happy as we thought we’d be, but only for a moment.
Wisdom of the Pretzel
Can you help me? I’m looking for Kinneret Street, I told the girl who was walking her dog at night. She told me she lived there, so I said I’d like to see her apartment to get a sense of the neighborhood, because I was thinking of moving there. We went up to her place. She offered me coffee, then cookies, then a cigarette, and then some whiskey. She lay beside me in bed and we looked into each other’s eyes. She lit a cigarette. I lit a cigarette. She leaned back. I leaned back. She stuck out her tongue to lick the crumbs off her lip, and I stuck out my tongue as if I also had crumbs on my lip. The test was complete—I’d be able to leave this place with a bigger ego. I leaned in, and she told me she wasn’t interested. I ask you, ladies, how am I supposed not to go crazy?
Silly and smart, funny and sad, witty and shallow, childish and mature. Such is the writer, such is the book, such is life.
“Everyone around me is tired. Exhausted,” she wrote him. “They’re elders at age twenty-seven, dead at thirty, buried at ninety. Do you know anyone who lives differently? Who truly loves? Who truly lives?”
An author with writer’s block lets a student in his writing workshop invade his heart. He’s already built up defenses against beauty, smiles, and low cut blouses. The only weapon he cannot thwart is words.
He would cut her off if he only could. The purpose of his life is a laughing family, and he knows the only way to get there is to remove any other woman from his life, his looks, even his words.
But she’s the reason he started writing again. Started living again. Started loving again.
A story about temptation and childhood trauma, about the challenge of loving what is right in front of you, the need to be cool, spoiled milk, and one great victory.
Ilan Heitner, a pretty nice guy, never thought of being an author. Life led him there, like it led him to become a yoga teacher, married and a father to 4, and many other things that lots of people dream of, except him. He always wanted to be mediocre, not standout, just that he grew up in a house where successful people where appreciated. How can you be successful and not standout? Write. That’s probably what led Heitner to write truths that make every reader say “hey, that’s me there”.