REVIEW: THE LATECOMER, BY JEAN HANFF KORELITZ

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings—Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally—feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

 

curl up and read thoughts

The story did build slowly and deliberately…almost too much so, in my opinion.  The characters alternately tell their tales, and then, by the very end, we are finally caught up in the “latecomer’s” story.  When we got there, I was more invested in what was happening.  Her version of events was present throughout, as she “told” it while events were unfolding for the others.

An unusual family with distance between the members, from the parents to the triplets.  They were detached from one another throughout.  We only feel a familial closeness when The Latecomer reaches her teens and begins to dig into the events of the past, those things that brought them all to this place in their lives.

Finally reaching a conclusion was the best part of the book for me.  I enjoyed how the characters finally came together and resolved some differences.  The youngest of the siblings was my favorite and made the story better.  So I arrived at a four star rating.

***

4 thoughts on “REVIEW: THE LATECOMER, BY JEAN HANFF KORELITZ

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