NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t


Let’s say you meet a Rockefeller — Clark Rockefeller — and suddenly you have this connection to a world of wealth and privilege. Or so you think, because one day you find out he’s an imposter. And not just an imposter — a murderer. That’s what happened to Walter Kirn, and Kirn’s a smart guy — he’s a journalist and the author of two novels that have been adapted into films, Up In The Air and Thumbsucker. How he was deceived, and what the consequences were, is the subject of Kirn’s new memoir, Blood Will Out. Clark Rockefeller was one of several identities assumed by Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German national. He murdered his landlady’s son in 1985 and the bones of his victim were discovered in 1994. Kirn met Rockefeller in 1998. He tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross, “He was beyond eccentric and he had refined his act with so many people that he knew that he could go right up to the brink — right up to the brink — of incoherence and absurdity. And he also knew that the closer he went to it, the harder he would be to figure out.” Rockefeller was charged with murder in 2011. He was convicted last August and sentenced to 27 years in prison. MORE