The essays of Gay Talese

Published by Readings Monthly, April 2014. Read the full piece at Talese 1972

In a 2009 interview with the Paris Review, American non-fiction writer Gay Talese described his unorthodox approach to reporting for the New York Times as a young man in the 1950s and 60s: ‘I knew I did not want to be on the front page,’ he said. ‘On the front page you’re stuck with the news. The news dominates you. I wanted to dominate the story.’

It was Talese’s approach to non-fiction that had Tom Wolfe announce him a founder of the American ‘New Journalism’, though Talese hasn’t enjoyed the fame of Wolfe or other more versatile contemporaries such as Norman Mailer and Truman Capote. In his weighty books, Talese tells everyday tales, about the pre-AIDS sexual liberation, the inner workings of New York crime families and the private lives of his colleagues at the Times. His best-known works are still his magazine pieces, collated most recently for Penguin’s Modern Classics series and published in 2011 as Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and Other Essays

Read the full piece at


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