It appears to me that in John McGahren's last novel flounders mid way through. Consequently the character of the novel shifts somewhat to lend it an extended life. This is why the character of Robert Booth is introduced. He is meeley inserted into the book to allow it to have an end as well as a beginning. Around the same time the character of Joe Ruttledge changes. He becomes more talkative and decisive.The relationship between the Joe and Kate is rather curious. Little conversation seems to take place between them. You would wonder why they are together at all.
This is a flaw in the book.