A novel is an organization, a network, a "closed system of collective paralysis". This novel organizes scraps of information I heard from, oh, probably a dozen or so different people. These people are actually in the novel. I didn't realize that all their information formed a single story until I learned what, chronologically, occurred at the very end; at that moment, all this information sort of crystallized into a single, strange structure. For this reason, I chose to begin the story at its end.
People never just tell you what happened, but they're always mixing in their thoughts about what happened, so that's in here too.
I know the exact date for the first chapter, because that was in the newspapers. I know the date when they opened Senachwine's grave too and some other dates for the same reason. A few of the dates I know precisely, but for different reasons. The rest are guesstimates, but I figure that, this being a novel and all, it's not that big a deal, and the dates do help out a little—some friends who read early drafts told me so.
Anyway, as best I call tell, this is what happened. . .