Bartleby & Me by Gay Talese

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Bartleby & Me:

Sinatra and explosions. Need I say more?

Quick synopsis:

Gay Talese talks about his career, Frank Sinatra, and a guy blowing up his brownstone.   

Fact for Non-History People:

Frank Sinatra wore lifts in his shoes so that he was 5’9” even though he was really 5’7” which is an inch taller than Napoleon.

Fact for History Nerds:

When Talese at the Times, he was a copyboy making $38 a week in 1953.

My Take on Bartleby & Me:

I think this Gay Talese guy might just have a future in this business. I kid. Talese has been a well-known author for decades and this book serves as a partial recounting of his career. Like many famous authors, he has a specific type of writing. I enjoyed this book immensely because I am okay with literary diversions as long as the author keeps it interesting. This is to say, if you want your book to have laser focus on its thesis, then you may want to skip this one. All others, I highly recommend this literary comfort food.

Bartleby & Me is three parts. The first is a memoir of sorts for Talese’s career. The second part is about the process of creating one of his most revered works about Frank Sinatra. The last is about a man who blew up his New York brownstone while in it. In each story, Talese states how much he loves getting the view from people often ignored. Yes, Sinatra is interesting, but so is his stand-in. And Talese is going to talk about him if he can.

If you can stand a few diversions, this book is an easy read which I found both interesting and relaxing. Just sit back and let Talese tell his story while you enjoy the ride.

(This book was provided as a review copy by the publisher.)


Literary comfort food. Give it a read. Buy it here!

If You Liked This Try:





Leave a Reply