Nan Talese is the publisher and editor-in-chief of A Million Little Pieces and the senior vice president of Doubleday, a division of Random House.
Oprah: Nan, James has admitted that he embellished his memoir. And what responsibility do you take in that?
Nan Talese: Well, I can only tell you how the book came to me and how I read it. And I read the manuscript as a memoir. I thought it was this extraordinary story of a man with drug addiction going through the hell of both the addiction and the recovery and the process. I thought the book was absolutely riveting. And you talked about the Novocain and, you know, you were implying that it perhaps that was a red flag, that the publisher should have said, 'Hey, this couldn't possibly be true.'
Nan Talese: But in fact, I have had a root canal without Novocain—not particularly because of the choice, but because of an extraordinary inept dentist. And I am here. And I, you know, it's really awful. It's very much as James described it. So I didn't think that. It wasn't a red flag to me.
Oprah: I don't know why that wouldn't be a red flag to anybody, Nan. I'm sorry, even if you'd had it yourself. That whole, the whole book—one of the reasons why we're all so taken with the book is because it feels and reads so sensationally that you can't believe that all of this happened to one person.