On January 7, 1980, in the run-up to the publication of his landmark bestseller Thy Neighbor's Wife
, Gay Talese received an anonymous letter from a man in Colorado. "Since learning of your long awaited study of coast-to-coast sex in America," the letter began, "I feel I have important information that I could contribute to its contents or to contents of a future book." The man went on to tell Talese an astonishing secret, that he had bought a motel to satisfy his voyeuristic desires. He had built an attic "observation platform," fitted with vents, through which he could peer down on his unwitting guests.
Unsure what to make of this confession, Talese traveled to Colorado where he met the man--Gerald Foos--verified his story in person, and read some of his extensive journals, a secret record of America's changing social and sexual mores. But because Foos insisted on remaining anonymous, Talese filed his reporting away, assuming the story would remain untold. Now, after thirty-five years, he's ready to go public and Talese can finally tell his story. The Voyeur's Motel
is an extraordinary work of narrative journalism, and one of the most talked about books of the year.
Gay Talese was born in Ocean City, New Jersey, in 1932, to Italian immigrant parents. He attended the University of Alabama, and after graduating was hired as a copyboy at the New York Times. After a brief stint in the army, Talese returned to the New York Times in 1956. Since then he has written for numerous publications, including Esquire, the New Yorker, Newsweek, and Harper's Magazine. It was these articles that led Tom Wolfe to credit Gay Talese with the creation of an inventive form of nonfiction writing called "The New Journalism." Talese's bestselling books have dealt with the history and influence of the New York Times (The Kingdom and the Power); the inside story of a Mafia family (Honor Thy Father); his father's immigration to America from Italy in the years preceding World War II (Unto the Sons); and the changing moral values of America in the period between World War II and the AIDS epidemic (Thy Neighbor's Wife). Gay Talese lives with his wife, Nan, in New York City.