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About Walter Kirn
WALTER KIRN is a contributing editor to Time magazine, where he was nominated for a National Magazine Award in his first year, and a regular reviewer for the New York Times Book Review. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, GQ, Vogue, New York and Esquire. He is the author of four previous works of fiction: My Hard Bargain: Stories, She Needed Me, Thumbsucker, and Up in the Air. He lives in Livingston, Montana.
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A Daily Beast Best Book of the Year
A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year
From elementary school on, Walter Kirn knew how to stay at the top of his class: He clapped erasers, memorized answer keys, and parroted his teachers’ pet theories. But when he launched himself eastward to an Ivy League university, Kirn discovered that the temple of higher learning he had expected was instead just another arena for more gamesmanship, snobbery, and social climbing. In this whip-smart memoir of kissing-up, cramming, and competition, Lost in the Meritocracy reckons the costs of an educational system where the point is simply to keep accumulating points and never to look back—or within.
With perception, wit, and wisdom, Up in the Air combines brilliant social observation with an acute sense of the psychic costs of our rootless existence, and confirms Walter Kirn as one of the most savvy chroniclers of American life.
New York Times Bestseller
Entertainment Weekly's #1 Nonfiction Book of the Year
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, USA Today, Slate, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and BookPage
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
A Pacific Northwest Book Award Finalist
A Montana Book Awards Honor Book
"Equals Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as a nonfiction novel of crime.” —Gerald Bartell, San Francisco Chronicle
In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn—then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage—set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.
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.
Kent Selkirk is an operator at AidSat, an omni-present subscriber service ready to answer, solve, and assist with the client’s every problem. Through the AidSat network Kent has a wealth of information at his fingertips–information he can use to monitor subscribers’ vital signs, information he can use to track their locations, information he can use to insinuate himself into their very lives.
A Parade Magazine “Books We Love” Pick
The Big Sky State may seem to lack the shadowy urban mazes traditional to the noir genre. But in Montana, darkness is found in the regions of the heart, driving the desperate and deadly to commit the most heinous of crimes. Here, James Grady and Keir Graff, both Montana natives, masterfully curate this collection of hard-edged Western tales.
Montana Noir includes Eric Heidle’s “Ace in the Hole,” an Edgar Award nominee for Best Short Story, and impressive contributions by David Abrams, Caroline Patterson, Thomas McGuane, Janet Skeslien Charles, Sidner Larson, Yvonne Seng, James Grady, Jamie Ford, Carrie La Seur, Walter Kirn, Gwen Florio, Debra Magpie Earling, and Keir Graff.
“Terrific . . . Montana Noir is one of the high points in Akashic’s long-running and justly celebrated Noir series . . . varying landscapes reflect the darkness within the people who walk the streets or drive the country roads.” —Booklist
“Montana may not have the back alleys so common to noir but it has western justice which can be quick, brutal and final and that is as satisfying as anything found in the urban streets that typically attract the dark beauty of the noir genre.” —New York Journal of Books
“Certain noir standbys prove both malleable and fertile in these 14 new stories . . . If Montana has a dark side, is anywhere safe from noir?” —Kirkus Reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of Up in the Air and Blood Will Out embarks on a journey that begins with the death of his beloved mother—and ends in an inexplicable spiritual awakening.
After the utter grief of taking his mother off life support, Walter Kirn is compelled to understand his recurring visions of a Native American holy site. With his children and girlfriend, he follows them. In opening himself up to the mysticism he sees in religion, music, and nature, Walter discovers something magical and transcendent: solidarity and solace in the world around him.
Walter Kirn’s The Stones, the Crows, the Grass, the Moon is part of Missing, a collection of six true stories about finding, restoring, or accepting the losses that define our lives—from the mysterious to the inspiring. Each story can be read—or listened to—in a single sitting.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Up in the Air comes a short and heartwarming true story about fathers and sons and how to say goodbye when there’s nothing left to say.
The last wish of Walter Kirn’s terminally ill father is to spend his final days in his remote Montana cabin. Trapped in life’s loneliest predicament, he sticks with his pleasures: nature, Murder, She Wrote, and reminiscing with his adult son. The only thing Walter didn’t foresee is the bear rooting outside his father’s sickroom window—a bold and curious yearling with whom Walter forms a unique and consoling bond.