A WRITER'S LIFE by Gay Talese (Knopf), 429 pages, $37 cloth. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
The man who invented New Journalism before there was a term for it struts his stuff, delivering deep background on a handful of compelling stories. And he dissects the writing - and non-writing - process, including himself in the list of characters in the book.
He manages to make channel surfing interesting and brings us along as he digs to find big stories hidden in small people and places. Whether it's about a gold medal loser (Liu Yin), a penis loser (John Bobbitt) or a building that turns restaurants into losers, Talese's take on the tale reveals more than a pack of daily headline hunters could ever uncover.
Let's hope we don't have to wait another 12 years for Talese's follow-up.