Crick suppresses narrating two of the three crises of deaths for which he is at least partially responsible until late in the novel, while the majority of the novel relates how he coped with his "correlative crisis of life" through his immersion in professional academic histories.
In an Herculean effort to avoid being haunted by these dead bodies, Crick immerses himself in the French Revolution and obsesses about the corpses in the Bastille and also investigates the history of the bodies of water surrounding him while growing up, which are themselves filled with the teeming bodies of eels.
Tom Crick conceives of history as a river and stoppages in history, or the "Here and Now," the moment when the flow of history immerses an individual, as the result of bodies that are often literally and sometimes metaphorically wedged in its flow.
In a pattern that is a microcosm of his delayed narratives about his aborted baby and his brother's suicide, Crick prevents us from knowing anymore about this body in the water by inserting three chapters between the finding of the body and the story attached to it.
Although these stories seem unimportant, in the midst of chapter three, "About the Fens," Crick reveals why his family has been so good at telling stories for so long--to suppress the utter reality constantly threatening to encroach on their lives:
In chapter eight, "About the Story-telling Animal," Crick purports to tell his class of children in the late 1970s why he became a history teacher.
A cursory reading of this passage suggests that Crick dealt squarely with the problems occasioned by Freddie's death at that time, but upon a closer reading we realize that he has merely "shouldered my Subject" in order to escape a much heavier burden.
Tamas Benyei recognizes Crick's necessity to undergo this self-examination in part, arguing, "The point of history for Crick is to absolve him from the task of coming to terms with his pestering Dick into suicide and with his inability to retrieve Mary by his love" ("Narrative" 115-16).
It is not until the tenth chapter, "About the Question Why," that Crick articulates his academic theory of history--one that is colored by his experience with the dead bodies that surrounded him that summer in 1943.
Asking why led Crick to the answer: his brother Dick killed him because he thought Freddie was the father of Mary's baby when it was really Tom.
Now, in the present, because of the frightening pressure put on him by his refusal to teach traditional history (he is telling all the stories that comprise the narration to his class instead), coupled with the pending realization that his wife is going crazy because she thinks God is going to give her a child in her fifties, Crick is forced to recall those horrific events of his past, briefly admitting from the point of view of his students, "it's the inexplicable that keeps him jabbering on nineteen to the dozen like this and scurrying further and further into the past.
Moreover, Crick has to re-remember what happened in order to experience any expiation for the acts he helped commit that fateful summer.
It is only when Price, the apocalyptic student with a corpse-like appearance, challenges Crick repeatedly about the importance of the Here and Now that Crick becomes more reflective about the stories from his past, an essential first step in the process of re-remembering.