There’s a technique that MacLeod uses in several novels which I call helical construction. In helical construction, the story is told in two interwoven strands, each strand entirely separate from the other, both progressing forward in time and joining at the end. Chapters alternate between the two strands. If you consider the events of the book chronologically, the events of the past strand all take place before any of the events of the future strand, but the reader encounters the two strands in tandem. This casts shadows in both directions in terms of plot, foreshadowing, reader knowledge and expectations, and subverts a lot of the traditional ways stories are told.
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