Scott Bakker: If most fishermen become fatalists because of the caprice of the seas, then all private detectives become cynics because of the caprice of human nature. (As a cop once told me, the problem wasn’t that he had seen it all, it was that he had seen too much. It got to the point where he saw scams no matter where he went.)This voice just popped into my head, this über-cool persona, who took my deepening cynicism regarding the lies, big and small, which all humans use to make sense of their lives, and turned them into a strange way of life. Disciple Manning was born.I had no choice but to write crime fiction then....If anything, Disciple is the Eternal Insider. The Perennial Whistleblower. As he puts it, he’s “the archivist of our lesser selves,” the self that our cherry-picking brain continually edits out of the picture. The weak self. The shameful self. The self behind the hand we hold before our faces when we weep. The self that continually murders fact and memory in the name of convenience and hypocrisy.For him the world is a crime scene, and he is the primary suspect. You could say that our hunger for moral resolution—for the outsider to ride into town and set things aright—is not all that different from our appetite for murder. In both cases, there’s a disconnect between what we desire and the way of the world. In both cases, certain people need to die. Without the benefit of moral certainty, who’s to say who’s the murderer and who’s the hero? For Disciple, whose memory makes it impossible for him to cobble together the flattering—and false—self-portrait our brains manufacture for us, there is no way to solve crimes without committing them.
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