As the three subplots are basically telling the same story they intermingle
in Marlow's head. As Marlow hallucinates due to his illness the flashbacks and
fantasy scenes have an anchor in reality and a credibility for the viewer.
Graham Fuller, in Potter on Potter, says "even more than his beloved Forest of
Dean, the landscape Potter occupies is the inside of the head". Seeing the story
subjectively from Marlow's perspective forces us to associate with this
unsympathetic character. In Marlow's head, where all the stories are based he is
unravelling the plots to reach a resolution. By reworking his novel he
assimilates his childhood memories and so comes to terms with his reality. In
Potter's own words (in 'Potter on Potter'), Marlow is "trying to rewrite [the
novel] simply as an exercise in not going mad. That in turn led him to start
assembling his life". The multi-temporal narrative, with 'worlds' crossing into
each other, had been tried by Potter before and more so since (Cream in My
Coffee, Blackeyes, Secret Friends) but it was probably most effectively realised
in The Singing Detective.