A day after disavowing his own book, author Gay Talese says he stands behind “The Voyeur’s Motel” after all.
After The Washington Post cast doubt on the upcoming book’s credibility Thursday, citing inconsistencies in its subject’s account, Talese told the paper he “should not have believed a word” he was told and said he would not participate in the book’s promotion.
Now, Talese and his publisher, Grove Publishing, are taking back those comments.
“I was upset and probably said some things I didn’t, and don’t, mean,” Talese said in a statement released through Grove on Friday. “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.”
“The Voyeur’s Motel” chronicles the strange story of Gerald Foos, who allegedly spied on guests at his Colorado motel from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s. A high-profile excerpt in the New Yorker magazine led DreamWorks to option the rights to the book, with “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes attached to direct and Steven Spielberg to produce.
A rep for DreamWorks TheWrap: “We don’t comment on the financials of our deals and further, we don’t have any comment about the recent news regarding the book.”
Foos’ story was called into question when the Post reported that property records revealed that Foos actually sold the motel, located in Aurora, Colorado, in 1980 and didn’t reacquire the property until eight years later. The time gap raised questions as to whether Foos told the truth about other key facts.
“The source of my book, Gerald Foos, is certifiably unreliable,” Talese told the Post. “He’s a dishonorable man, totally dishonorable … I know that … I did the best I could on this book, but maybe it wasn’t good enough.”
“The vast majority of the book focuses on Foos’ early life and the years from 1969 to 1980, which is not at issue in The Washington Post story,” Morgan Entrekin, CEO and Publisher of Grove Atlantic said in a statement Friday. “Grove takes the Post story seriously and will work with Talese to address any questions in future printings.”
This was not the first time the book’s timeline had been called into question. In the book, Foos also describes secretly being witness to a man strangling his wife in 1977. According to the Post story, no official record of the crime exists, a discrepancy Talese dismisses in his book as a record-keeping error.
“The Voyeur’s Motel” is hits bookshelves and Kindles on July 12.