The Latecomer: A Novel

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As a newly married woman, Johanna Oppenheimer wants nothing more than a baby. When she has triplets via IVF—a brand-new technology in the early 1970s—she’s thrilled. But the triplets co-exist as little more than reluctant housemates, eager to be free of one another. Johanna and Salo’s marriage is equally distant, and Salo searches for true intimacy elsewhere—in his art collection, but also with another woman. When Johanna decides to bring a fourth child into their family—the fourth embryo from the IVF round, long frozen—the adult triplets all but ignore her. Still, the family dynamic shifts. Not immediately, and not easily. But it turns out that the “latecomer”—Phoebe—is what the family most needs after all.

Following each sibling—Sally, Harrison, and Lewyn—as they move through high school, college, and early adulthood, the novel shifts point of view and shows just how intractable the siblings’ expectations and behaviors are. There are opportunities for connection, mostly ignored or recklessly destroyed. What Phoebe brings, very late, to the Oppenheimer party is a new view of how important family ties are, and a certainty that it’s never too late to build those bridges. The Latecomer is more of a family drama than Korelitz’s The Plot or You Should Have Known, but no less of a pageturner.


Reviewed By:

Author Jean Hanff Korelitz
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 448 pages
Publisher Celadon Books
Publish Date 31-May-2022
ISBN 9781250790798
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue August 2022
Category Popular Fiction
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