On January 7, 1980, in the run-up to the publication of his landmark best seller 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 35 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 Gay Talese. Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. "I Can't Stop Loving You," words and music by Don Gibson. Copyright 1958 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC. Copyright Renewed. All Rights Administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, 424 Church Street, Suite 1200, Nashville, TN 37219. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by Permission of Hal Leonard Corporation. (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
This was an odd book. Most times it was difficult to tell if it truly was fact or just longing of an voyeur. Regardless, it was fascinating to listen to. I enjoyed every minute of the book, even though it made me feel like a voyeur myself by just listening to this powerful and compelling story.
I loved this book. Not because of the stories the Voyeur wrote down.
The Voyeurs "research" recollections, presented as true observations, are criminal and others fictions of a twisted mind. The scenes are difficult to get through. And the author's seeming complicity in working with this man makes me upset.
However, Mr Talese has woven in similar examples of people, like this man Gerald Foos, and other fascinating facts and anecdotes. He has done his due diligence as a reporter and brought it all together wonderfully. This is what I loved about this book.
You will get angry, disgusted, repulsed and fascinated by the questions you ask yourself throughout. I think anyone who can listen objectively should listen.
Im checking the vents in my hotel room from now on.
I have always been fan of the writing style of Gay Talese and New Journalism. The blending of raw facts with a rich and deep anthropological vantage point results in an enlargement of my structure of judgement of people and their thoughts and resulting actions.
Mr. Talese's voice is alway in the reporter mode, no judgements, that's up to the reader. He writes with a smooth almost silky style which compliments the rawness of the characters.
After writing The Voyeur's Motel, based on motel-owner Gerald Foos' journals, Gay Talese has since distanced himself from the book saying he has come to realize Mr. Foos is not a credible person. Before I knew that, I pre-ordered the book because it sounded intriguing. But after listening, some of the stories are obviously fake; they just don't ring true. For example, an electrician and his wife go to the hotel and as they're relaxing, the husband notices the vent in the ceiling (through which Mr. Foos watches his guests.) Supposedly the husband says, "I'm an electrician so I should know, that's not a real vent." If this man is talking with his wife, he's not going to say, "I'm an electrician." He knows that his wife already knows his career. He wouldn't need to state that out loud to her as though it's new information. As a work of fiction, it's a little creepy. As non-fiction, it's worthless.
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