On Second Thought, Talese Stands By His Book
Says he overreacted in regard to 'The Voyeur's Motel'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2016 8:15 AM CDT
Author Gay Talese attends the premiere of "Genius" at the Museum of Modern Art on Sunday, June 5, 2016, in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – It's the weirdest book publicity ever: Author Gay Talese is now disavowing his earlier disavowal of his own new book. The strange tale involves Talese's The Voyeur's Motel, which is out later this month. The book tells the story of motel owner Gerald Foos, who claims to have spied on guests there over 30 years. But when the Washington Post informed Talese that Foos had not actually owned the motel for an eight-year stretch in the 1980s, the author reacted strongly: "How dare I promote it when its credibility is down the toilet?" On Friday afternoon, however, Talese had a change of heart, as quoted in a release issued by his publisher, Grove/Atlantic.

"When I spoke to the Washington Post reporter, I am sure I was surprised and upset about this business of the later ownership of the motel, in the '80s," he says, per NPR. "That occurred after the bulk of the events covered in my book, but I was upset and probably said some things I didn't, and don't, mean. Let me be clear: I am not disavowing the book and neither is my publisher. If, down the line, there are details to correct in later editions, we'll do that." In fairness to Talese, it does seem that Foos did indeed spy on guests at least through the 1970s. One person likely happy with the new development is Steven Spielberg—he's bought the movie rights.