The Voyeur's Motel

Gay Talese (Author)
Available

Description

On January 7, 1980, in the run-up to the publication of his landmark bestseller Thy Neighbor's Wife, Gay Talese received an anonymous handwritten 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: he had bought a motel outside Denver to satisfy his voyeuristic desires. Underneath the roof of his motel, the man had built an "observation platform," fitted with vents, through which he could watch his unwitting guests.

Unsure what to make of this confession, Talese traveled to Colorado where he met the man--Gerald Foos--and verified his story in person. But because Foos insisted on remaining anonymous, preserving for himself the privacy he denied his guests, Talese filed his reporting away, assuming the story would remain untold.

Over the ensuing years, Foos occasionally reached out to Talese to fill him in on the latest developments in his life. He also sent Talese hundreds of pages of notes on his guests and their habits, work that Foos believed made him a pioneering researcher into American society and sexuality. America in microcosm had passed through the Voyeur's motel, and he witnessed and recorded the harsh effects of the war in Vietnam, the upheaval in gender roles, the decline of segregation, and much more. But Foos continued to insist on anonymity. Now, after thirty-five years, he's ready to go public and Gay Talese can finally tell his story.

The Voyeur's Motel is an extraordinary work of narrative journalism, at once a portrait of one complicated man, and an examination of secret lives and shifting mores in a culturally-evolving country.

Product Details

Price
$16.00  $14.72
Publisher
Grove Press
Publish Date
July 11, 2017
Pages
240
Dimensions
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.1 inches | 0.55 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9780802126979

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About the Author

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.

Reviews

Praise for The Voyeur's Motel

Named a Best Book of the Year by the Daily Mail (Event Critics' Selection)

"This book flipped nearly all of my switches as a reader. It's a strange, melancholy, morally complex, grainy, often appalling and sometimes bleakly funny book, one that casts a spell not dissimilar to that cast by Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer . . . Gripping . . . [Talese] lays out what he knows and does not know in sentences that are as crisp as good Windsor knots. He expresses his qualms, but trusts the reader to come to his or her own conclusions . . . An intense book."--Dwight Garner, New York Times

"Informative and intriguing . . . [I] was enlightened and entertained by The Voyeur's Motel."--Washington Post

"This is a weird book about weird people doing weird things, and I wouldn't have put it down if the house were on fire."--Washington Times

"Whether Gerald Foos is telling the complete truth is almost beside the point. The Voyeur is so fascinating a character--insightful, observant and amoral--that the reader becomes caught up in his story."--Providence Journal

"If you've ever wanted your inner voyeur to run free, vicariously at least, then The Voyeur's Motel is for you . . . Motel delves deeply into the taboo world with no holds barred and no excuses . . . The type of unflinching New Journalism that Talese helped found three decades ago."--Jackson Clarion Ledger

"Pioneering reporter Gay Talese tells the ultimate surveillance story in The Voyeur's Motel . . . Talese--a master of elegant, understated prose--uses an objective reportorial style to tell the voyeur's story, and it's the right approach for a narrative that requires no extra spice . . . An unforgettable book."--BookPage

"Foos [is revealed] as a singularly pervy, grandiose, and strangely eloquent weirdo who would be irresistible to any writer, let alone one as talented, patient, and thoughtful as Talese . . . Those seeking a uniquely discomfiting journey couldn't find a better pair of reprobates with whom to cast their lot."--Booklist

"Undoubtedly creepy and unnerving but also an entirely compelling slice of seamy American life."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] truly shocking story . . . Not your typical beach book, perhaps, but you may want to read this compulsive page-turner--which raises all sorts of fascinating journalistic, moral and legal issues--under cover of an umbrella."--Barnes & Noble Review

"A provocative and compelling story."--Midwest Book Review

"Talese is a master at finding and reporting intimate matters in a clean, fine prose style so that the pages fly by. Thus the odd subject of Talese's book is transparently manifest, without a biased or judgmental eye, all the better to reveal what Foos has done."--Psychodynamic Psychiatry

"An unsettling read . . . Foos's notes offer a long-term glimpse into the sex lives of Americans."--Maclean's (Canada)

"The Voyeur's Motel . . . had me hooked . . . It's an unsettling book, like being trapped in a hall of mirrors. The reader observes Talese observing Foos observing his guests. It might make you lose your bearings, but at the same time it's completely mesmerising, and often darkly funny, too."--Daily Mail (UK) (Event Critics' Best Books of the Year)

"[An] eye-popping book . . . Completely riveting from start to finish . . . Darkly comical . . . It is by turns fascinating and illuminating, very creepy and very funny, and will live in my memory long after many more doggedly accurate works have vanished into thin air."--Mail on Sunday (UK)

"A riveting page-turner . . . Short and brisk, it tells a compellingly sordid story, and Foos is one fascinating dude . . . The book is compulsively readable."--Winnipeg Free Press