His 1980 book "Thy Neighbor's Wife" threatened his career and marriage. Both survived.
Oh, what times they must have been. In the '70s writer Gay Talese was in the throes of research, working on a novel. This wasn't just any reporter's notepad, though.
His research involved scouting out massage parlors and trailing orgies with a crew of New York City couples. He set out to "write about sex and the changing definition of morality," he tells Jonathan Van Meter in a recent article for New York magazine. Thing is, he was married to publishing pro Nan Talese all the while. In 1980, Gay Talese's book, Thy Neighbor's Wife was released. It received a scathing critique (albeit, while raking in millions in sales). Somehow, this marriage survived.
Says Talese, now 77, in defense of his adulterous acts of research (during Van Meter's interview), "If you want to write about orgies, you're not going to be in the press box with your little press badge keeping your distance. You have to have a kind of affair with your sources."
When asked by the reporter if she's ever felt humiliated by her husband's actions (as the public seemed to have felt for her), Nan Talese, now 75, says no. Of surviving the headlines and gossip, she adds, "I never felt deserted or unloved."
Now, Talese is filling a box with scraps of memories in preparation for writing his new book...on marriage. This month, June, he and wife Nan, still living in a townhouse in the East sixties of Manhattan, will celebrate 50 years being together, married. Oh what a wild ride it's sure to have been (and continues to be, no doubt). The book is expected to be released in 2011.
A good reminder is what this article provides. Love still eludes us. And there is no prescription, no guidebook, for what works in a given marriage. Some quirks and eccentricities will be accepted as spouses try to understand what is not easily grasped. We highly recommend reading this article in its entirety here.
Readers: Could you forgive your spouse's infidelity if the deed was done in the name of research?