Gay Talese is the outsider’s outsider. The son of an Italian Catholic immigrant reared in an Irish-American enclave on a largely Protestant island. The kid with the bad grades and the good suits, too shy to ask a girl to dance, but too curious not to ask her lots of questions about herself.
The post-Second World War America of Gay Talese’s youth revered heroes and paid little heed to the rest, leaving a guy like Talese free to roam beneath the radar, eavesdropping, watching a world that was someone else’s oyster. In dispatches for high school, and then college, and then big city newspapers, Gay Talese celebrated the anti-heroes. The runners-up and the also-rans, the ones who dropped the ball or lost the girl. Then all of a sudden, the writer himself, was a contender.
Gay Talese, writer and author of many books, including “The Bridge,” “The Kingdom and the Power,” “Honor Thy Father,” and “Thy Neighbor’s Wife”