Blood Will Out (Paperback)
The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade
Liveright Publishing Corporation, 9781631490224, 272pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 2015
March 2014 Indie Next List
— Susan Gusho, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS
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Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend's murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew--a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself.
Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Do you think there is anything beneath Clark’s ever-shifting façades? Does Clark have a genuine “personality?"generic viagra price canada
- How does Clark’s life, which is built around the telling of lies, differ from the author’s life as a novelist?generic viagra price canada
- On page 61 the author writes, “‘You can’t cheat an honest man,’ goes the old saying, the notion being that falling for a charlatan requires moral softness in the victim.” Do you think there is a tacit complicity between con and mark?generic viagra price canada
- How do various locales inform the narrative? What does the American West, New York City, or Hollywood represent to Clark and the author?generic viagra price canada
- How do literature and the media influence Clark’s invented personalities? Do you think our general saturation in pop culture helped or hurt his attempts at hoodwinking others?generic viagra price canada
- Did the fact that Clark pretended to be a member of one of America’s wealthiest families make his ruse more believable? Are Americans blinded by wealth, or would he have been just as successful pretending to be a member of the middle class?generic viagra price canada
- How does Clark’s proposal of the theory (on page 142) that reality is a “computer program” and life is “an illusion” aid him in his schemes?generic viagra price canada
- Clark is constantly performing an act for those around him. In what ways is the author playing a part? Is he ever aware of his role?generic viagra price canada
- The author says that Clark “spoke from inside my own American mind.” How was Christian Gerhartsreiter able to manipulate Americans through his position as a secret outsider?generic viagra price canada
- Clark tells Walter that the key to manipulating people is “Vanity, vanity, vanity.” Can you think of some examples where this is true in the book?generic viagra price canada
- How does the author’s story of the time he got lost in the woods during a snowstorm inform his relationship with Clark?generic viagra price canada
- What methods does Clark use to take advantage of the idea of “Faith in strangers, rewarded in full measure?”generic viagra price canada
- Do you think it’s possible for Clark to feel remorse?generic viagra price canada
- Do you think Clark would have fooled you if you’d come across him?generic viagra price canada