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Gay Talese will promote new book, backs off earlier comments

Author Gay Talese attends an Esquire magazine event in New York in 2013. (Evan Agostini / Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
By Hillel Italie Associated Press

NEW YORK – Gay Talese has disavowed his disavowal.

A day after saying the credibility of his upcoming book, “The Voyeur’s Motel,” was “down the toilet” because he felt he had been deceived by the story’s primary source, the celebrated author and journalist said he will be promoting it.

“I was upset and probably said some things I didn’t, and don’t, mean,” Talese said in a statement issued Friday through publisher Grove Atlantic. “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.”

“Voyeur’s Motel” tells of a Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos, who allegedly spied on his guests for years. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that some events in the book happened after Foos sold the motel, in the 1980s. In response, Talese angrily denounced Foos and said he couldn’t bring himself to support “Voyeur’s Motel,” which comes out July 12.

On Friday, Talese said he had long known he couldn’t always trust Foos.

“Gerald Foos, as no one calls into question, was an epic voyeur, and, as I say very clearly in the text, he could also at times be an unreliable teller of his own peculiar story,” he said. “I am sure I was surprised and upset about this business of the later ownership of the motel, in the ’80s. That occurred after the bulk of the events covered in my book.”

Talese’s book was excerpted in The New Yorker and film rights have been acquired by Steven Spielberg for DreamWorks. DreamWorks declined comment Friday.

Talese, 84, is widely credited with being one of the leading “new journalists” of the 1960s, applying the techniques of literature to nonfiction reporting.

His other books include “Honor Thy Father,” “Thy Neighbor’s Wife” and “Unto the Sons.”