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American Masturbation

Alan Coren, 17 July 1980

Thy Neighbour’s Wife 
by Gay Talese.
Collins, 568 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 00 216307 1
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... stands up, the brain falls down!’ And, as a review, it says just about all there is to say about Gay Talese’s appalling new book. And its author. Of course, the old man was clearly attempting, in his dim yet not unwinningly direct fashion, to warn me about America. I have little doubt that he knew even less about America than he knew about anything ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: What Writers Wear, 27 July 2017

... Looks’, which include ‘Glasses’, ‘Hats’ and ‘Suits’, the latter bringing Gay Talese and T.S. Eliot into unlikely proximity. There are also pull quotes with such fun facts as that Jacqueline Susann’s ambition as a schoolgirl ‘was to own a mink coat’, and in the early 1970s Samuel Beckett used a ‘now classic leather Gucci ...

Keeping Score

Ian Jackman: Joe DiMaggio, 10 May 2001

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life 
by Richard Ben Cramer.
Simon and Schuster, 560 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 684 85391 4
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... writes Cramer, ‘like him and Joe were going to chew the fat about Marilyn.’ In the 1960s Gay Talese was trying to write about DiMaggio for Esquire. Talese told Joe he thought he was a great man. ‘I’m not great,’ Joe said, ‘I’m just a man trying to get along.’ One of Cramer’s achievements is that ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... Arthur Hays Sulzberger, even authorised a loan of $16,000 so he could buy a house in London. In Gay Talese’s book about the Times, The Kingdom and the Power, we see Matthews in 1967 sitting ‘rather forlornly in Room 1048 along a corridor of editorial writers on the tenth floor . . . a man doing penance in an ivory tower because he had embarrassed ...

Goings-on in the Tivoli Gardens

Christopher Tayler: Marlon James, 5 November 2015

A Brief History of Seven Killings 
by Marlon James.
Oneworld, 688 pp., £8.99, June 2015, 978 1 78074 635 7
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... a bigger picture than me asking him why he smokes ganja. Damn if I’m not fooling myself I’m Gay Talese again.’ ‘The ones who come and go’, in James’s telling, include a young woman called Nina Burgess, who’s had a one night stand with Marley; Barry Diflorio, a CIA man; and Alex. The rest are gangsters, and the bigger picture they open up ...

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