Gay Talese revisits his pioneering career profiling the many "nobodies" who make New York so fascinating, culminating with the strange and riveting story of Dr. Nicholas Bartha, who blew up his Upper East Side brownstone—and himself—rather than give up his beloved patch of NYC real estate.
Only one chunk of his latest book...can fairly be called new ... More of an ambler, in which he appears to give his finger to the form by filigreeing a couple of his ironclad hits and then tacking on a new gargoyle of a tale. He’s done it his way, and one can imagine him and Sinatra’s ghost sharing a song-and-dance number, a couple of satisfied sailors on the town.
Talese’s conversational style — openhanded, easygoing, characterized by fact-rich yet perfectly balanced sentences — invites the reader to sit back and relax. His book proved just the right tonic for my downcast spirits.