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The Gay Talese Reader: Portraits and…

The Gay Talese Reader: Portraits and Encounters

by Gay Talese

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A while ago Wikipedia had a front page article about Gay Talese’s Esquire article ‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold’, a landmark in New Journalism and, in Esquire's own opinion, the best story the magazine ever published.

Having read it, it is a hell of a story. It is also a perfect example of New Journalism: pairing techniques from fiction writing (telling the story using scenes, adding in everyday details to color the narrative, using dialogue rather than quotations or statements) with the detailed research and strict adherence to factual accuracy of traditional reporting. These articles read like short stories, except every detail is true.

This book contains several famous Talese articles primarily from the 1960s although there are some later ones. Every article was worth reading, but ‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold' was my favourite.

In a book made up of a collection of very good articles, the opener, ‘New York is a City of Things Unnoticed’, is one of the weaker ones. It works well as an introduction to Talese’s themes and, instead of following a central protaganist, it examines some of the quirky, out of the way places and people that go unnoticed in one of the more populous areas on the planet. I think reading through it would give enough of a flavor to decide whether the book is worth the purchase, I just don’t think it is as strong as the articles which follow.

From there, we read profiles of several retired heavy weight fighters, the man who writes obituaries for the New York Times, a retired Joe DiMaggio and the founders of The Paris Review plus others. All of these articles read like beautifully written, literate short stories rather than dry, "just the facts ma'am" reporting.

Even so, in the two essays where Talese talks about himself ('Origins of a Nonfiction Writer' and 'When I was Twenty-five'), he takes pains to point out that his writing is as thoroughly researched as his writing was when he worked for The Times. He never falsifies quotes, changes names or creates composite characters.

I think the final article, 'Walking My Cigar' was a weak finish to the book. As a solo article, it isn't bad. But there was a perceptible dip compared to the articles that came before it. The Gay Talese Reader is a strong collection of beautifully written New Journalism pieces book-ended by weaker articles.

‘Frank Sinatra Has a Cold’ alone makes the book worth the purchase, but all of the articles were entertaining, insightful and extremely well-written. ( )
1 vote jseger9000 | Feb 24, 2011 |
«Los textos que aparecen en esta esperada y maravillosa recopilación son brillantes ejemplos de una época en que el periodismo era una forma de arte y Talese su Miguel Ángel. Este libro merece ser leído una y otra vez.»

Publishers Weekly

«Algunos de los reportajes más memorables del último medio siglo periodístico. Un clásico moderno.» Babelia

Desde que allá por los años sesenta Gay Talese irrumpiera en el mundo del periodismo para revolucionar sus formas y cambiar para siempre la manera de afrontar un reportaje, sus artículos han servido de modelo a generaciones de escritores. Ya se trate de historias cotidianas protagonizadas por gente desconocida que con frecuencia nos resulta curiosamente familiar, o de perfiles de personajes famosos a los que en realidad no conocíamos tanto como creíamos, Talese es capaz de mostrarnos siempre el detalle invisible que nos revela los secretos, de introducirnos en la escena como si la estuviéramos presenciando, de hacernos partícipes de los momentos más inaccesibles.

Iconos de la cultura como Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway o Peter O’Toole, de la política como Kennedy o Fidel Castro, o del deporte como Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Alí o Joe Louis, se alternan en estas páginas con entrañables recuerdos familiares o los humildes inicios del autor en el mundo del periodismo. El nexo de unión es siempre el m ismo: el inigualable estilo de Talese.

«Cada pieza está marcada con el elegante estilo de Talese, su exhaustiva investigación, su hábil uso de los diálogos, su característica construcción por escenas y, sobre todo, su infalible ojo para el detalle revelador. Lo que distingue a Talese, lo que él hace mejor que nadie es sencillamente dejarse caer por la escena, observar y escuchar... Es cierto que siempre ha sido un reportero, pero también que tiene la vista y el oído de un artista. Esta antología le devuelve el brillo al término Nuevo Periodismo.» Los Angeles Times Book Review

«En este libro encontrará un buen ejemplo de la mejor prosa norteamericana de la segunda mitad del siglo xx.» The Atlantic Monthly

«Una excelente introducción a la obra de Talese, un autor de múltiples talentos. » Booklist

«Los textos que aparecen en esta esperada y maravillosa recopilación son brillantes ejemplos de una época de la historia del periodismo en la que publicar en determinadas revistas era una forma de arte y Talese su Miguel Ángel. Este libro merece ser leído una y otra vez.» Publishers Weekly
added by marques_desastre | edithttp://www.alfaguara.com/es/libro/retratos-y-encuentros/
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802776752, Paperback)

As a young reporter for The New York Times, in 1961 Gay Talese published his first book, New York—A Serendipiter’s Journey, a series of vignettes and essays that began, “New York is a city of things unnoticed. It is a city with cats sleeping under parked cars, two stone armadillos crawling up St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and thousands of ants creeping on top of the Empire State Building.”

Attention to detail and observation of the unnoticed is the hallmark of Gay Talese’s writing, and The Gay Talese Reader brings together the best of his essays and classic profiles. This collection opens with “New York Is a City of Things Unnoticed,” and includes “Silent Season of a Hero” (about Joe DiMaggio), “Ali in Havana,” and “Looking for Hemingway” as well as several other favorite pieces. It also features a previously unpublished article on the infamous case of Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt, and concludes with the autobiographical pieces that are among Talese’s finest writings. These works give insight into the progression of a writer at the pinnacle of his craft.

Whether he is detailing the unseen and sometimes quirky world of New York City or profiling Ol’ Blue Eyes in “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” Talese captures his subjects—be they famous, infamous, or merely unusual—in his own inimitable, elegant fashion. The essays and profiles collected in The Gay Talese Reader are works of art, each carefully crafted to create a portrait of an unforgettable individual, place or moment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:04 -0400)

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