Tom Barbash in The Rumpus:

Walter-Kirn_Lynn-Donaldson-200x200Walter Kirn is one of those writers you read for the company of his mind. He is forever interesting, pointed, a literary bad-ass. If he was on a rival debate squad, I would run the other way. His range is capacious. He’s the author of five novels, a terrific story collection, a searing memoir,Lost In The Meritocracy, which lays to waste the myths about an Ivy League education. Two of his novels,Thumbsucker and Up in the Air, were made into excellent films, the latter nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture. He’s penned campaign coverage for The New Republic andGQ, driven the California Coast with Robert Downey, Jr. for a Rolling Stone cover story. And still he might be best known for his tough and intelligent book reviews over the years for New York Magazine and the New York Times Book Review.

Kirn’s latest book, Blood Will Out, is the story of an improbable acquaintanceship he shared with a man who called himself Clark Rockefeller, and who was convicted of murdering a man in Southern California. It’s a first-rate book about crime and class, identity, friendship, manipulation, and the difficult job of being a writer. It may well become a classic.

The Rumpus: One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the extent to which you explore your own role in the story, your desire for an adventure, and your self-described naïve acceptance of Clark’s mythology. When, in the course of writing the book, did you realize it would be in part about you? Or did you always intend to make it in part a memoir?

Walter Kirn: I always knew the book would largely be about me. It’s the anatomy of a con, and every deception is a dance, two-sided. Clark Rockefeller discerned in me—almost instantly, I have a hunch—a set of tendencies and vulnerabilities that allowed him to take me in. First, there was my social insecurity. I grew up in rural Minnesota and then went off to Princeton, where I didn’t feel I was treated very well. Being friends with a Rockefeller seemed to heal these wounds. Also, I’m a sucker for a good story, and he was a storyteller above all else.

More here.