The controversial chronicle of a motel owner who secretly studied the sex lives of his guests by the renowned journalist and author of Thy Neighbor’s Wife.
On January 7, 1980, in the run-up to the publication of his landmark bestseller Thy Neighbor’s Wife, Gay Talese received an anonymous letter from a man in Colorado. “Since learning of your long-awaited study of coast-to-coast sex in America,” the letter began, “I feel I have important information that I could contribute to its contents or to contents of a future book.” The man—Gerald Foos—hen divulged an astonishing secret: he had bought a motel outside Denver for the express purpose of satisfying his voyeuristic desires. Underneath its peaked roof, he had built an “observation platform” through which he could peer down on his unwitting guests.
Over the years, Foos sent Talese hundreds of pages of notes on his guests, work that Foos believed made him a pioneering researcher into American society and sexuality. Through his Voyeur’s motel, he witnessed and recorded the harsh effects of the war in Vietnam, the upheaval in gender roles, the decline of segregation, and much more. In The Voyeur’s Motel. “the reader observes Talese observing Foos observing his guests.” An extraordinary work of narrative journalism, it is at once an examination of one unsettling man and a portrait of the secret life of the American heartland over the latter half of the twentieth century (Daily Mail, UK).
“This is a weird book about weird people doing weird things, and I wouldn’t have put it down if the house were on fire.” —John Greenya, Washington Times