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The Latecomer

Jean Hanff Korelitz

This is the best novel I’ve read in ages—funny, gripping, complex. The Oppenheimer triplets are born in the early days of in vitro fertilization, and from birth, they want nothing to do with one another. The family is wealthy, heirs to a multigenerational banking fortune, and their father collects contemporary art. When the triplets are about to go to college, their mother makes one last attempt to have a cohesive family and hires a surrogate to carry the lone embryo left over from the IVF treatment. It’s up to this latecomer to make sense of the family stories, uncover the secrets, and tie up loose ends. It’s truly a novel of the 2020s, touching on politics, race, gender, and much more.


From the publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz’s The Latecomer is a layered and immersive literary novel about three siblings, desperate to escape one another, and the upending of their family by the late arrival of a fourth.

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.

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