I am remembering all those creative writing instructors who insisted you “write what you know.” Problem is, my most interesting stories are better left unexposed to the light of day.
Gay Talese seems to have had no such qualms. His book, “Thy Neighbor’s Wife”, was published in 1980 and was hailed by Atlantic Monthly as “A sexual Pilgrim’s Progress.” Imagine it – at the height of the sexual revolution, a fairly well known married male writer ‘tom-cats’ all over town in the name of literary research and goes on to pen a best selling book about the experience.
Sure, it made for fascinating reading, but one couldn’t help but wonder how Mrs. Talese dealt with all this. Nan Talese wasn’t hiding in the kitchen baking cookies while all this was going on, either; she was then an editor at Random House, working a mile or two from where her husband was busily exploring the seamy underside of NYC’s various sexual playgrounds. Their eldest daughter was 16 when the book came out. Care to walk in her shoes?
Well, Gay Talese is still at it. His new book deals with his marriage — and this article in New York Magazine allows the reader a glimpse into their lives. Most interesting.