I retain a weird affection for Elliott, the phantom phone-caller, who was really the result of a happy accident. In my original inception of the book, Harry was going to receive a phone call at the very end from an old friend who hadn’t heard of Anna’s death. This caller’s open and heartfelt grief at the news was meant to be Harry’s last straw, and to contrast with Harry’s emotional constipation. But mid-way, I decided to have Harry change his phone number, so that wasn’t going to work any more. And I thought, what if someone called looking for the previous owner of the new number?
Fortune and poor judgment thrust Harry into situations not designed for the squeamish; eventually, I had to stop reading the book on the train to work because the several scenes were so cringe-inducing that my groans and facial gymnastics were attracting more attention than I really wanted. As well, I agree with your assessment of the development of Harry in many ways. In a way, much like in Harry’s relationships on the page, he is a hard man for a reader to like. Even his “good deeds” have a motivation that is questionable at best and lecherous at worst.