Cover Image: The Latecomer

The Latecomer

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Member Reviews

Might have been a case of bad timing but I just couldn’t get into this one. It’s a DNF for me. Thank you to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
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I loved The Plot by Jean Haniff Korelitz, but this one was a bit of a slog. Not enough reward for all of the work or unraveling it.
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I struggled a little reading this book, but after I finished it, I was glad I persevered and completed it.  I thought the second half of the book was better and more enjoyable and more interesting to read than the first half of the book.  The book is a lot about family dynamics.  There are incidents that occur in different characters lives that you feel like they have an impact on who that person is, etc. and while the incident was mentioned, I felt that a few of these incidents should have been further discussed/analyzed on exactly the impact.  I think the reader is left to interpret the impact and I think the first first half of the book would have been more interesting if this had been done.  There’s a lot of up front content in the first half that personally I didn’t think had as big of an impact on the characters as the items that weren’t really explored.  An example is the car accident on Salo throughout his early marriage and young life of the triplets. 

I found most of the characters in the book well defined.  The author did a good job of making you feel like you knew the feelings in different situation - like I could feel the pain and stress at the clambake - I thought this part of the story was very well written.   

What I liked about the book - the ending - I liked how the author wrapped everything up in the end and Phoebe’s roll in the triplets lives and her conversation with her mother.  I liked the way the author lets you find out about what happened to Salo after his decision to leave for LAX.  I liked the whole concept of the four eggs and the thought about which eggs were chosen and the impact it has on everyone’s feelings as well as the readers feelings.  I loved Phoebe. 

What I would change about the book - I would spend some time understanding the impact of the accident on Salo as it relates to his marriage and the triplets.  I felt like the high school years for the triplets was also not very well defined - again, how the triplets did things in high school as it related to each other.
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In an effort to shrink my physical and netgalley shelves, next up on my list was The Latecomer! 

I was intrigued by the synopsis and looked forward to understanding what made this family so complex and interesting. I found, however, that the presentation and build up was just a bit too slow for my liking, and I decided to DNF after reading the first three chapters. 

This book has a LOT of detail and I’m sure it all plays into a bigger overarching storyline, but it unfortunately didn’t work for me and was causing me to lose focus way too quickly. I will definitely check out other books by this author in the future, though!
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Ok, this is a difficult book for me to rate. I loved the plot, even though it did take some time to get going. No doubt the author is a brilliant writer but I wish the first part of the book was as compelling to me as the last part.

This is the story of a large, wealthy family in New York, the Oppenheimers. The triplets Lewyn, Harrison and Sally are mostly unlikeable and grow up with what seems to be no love between them. They have privilege and education but no family bond. I love a family saga and it was the large time span of the book that I enjoyed. I also loved "the latecomer" to the family, and I loved her part of the book.

This is a lengthy book and I also sampled the audiobook read by the great Julia Whelan. I feel this is one of those sagas that might be more enjoyable as an audiobook. Overall, the characters are sharply drawn and the events of the book are very timely. This is not a thriller or suspense by any means but a good work of contemporary fiction. I adored the final section of the book and for that, I would recommend this slow-build family saga.

(Many thank to Celadon Books for providing a review copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.)
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In my opinion, there's not a single likeable character to be found in The Latecomer - this is a book about people who are so caught up in their own worlds that they can't see the people they're hurting along the way. While it's a well-written book, and I enjoyed the style of writing, particularly in the first half, I struggled to actually care about any of these characters. I certainly wasn't rooting for any of them to get a happily ever after, so when the various storylines and threads were all neatly tied together by the end of the novel, I found myself really unsatisfied.
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Triplets Lewyn, Sally, and Harrison are the much-wanted product of their mother's IVF.  Johanna, their mother, dotes on them, but is oblivious to them as actual people.  She insists that they love each other, and doesn't seem to notice that they prefer not to be in each other's company.  Salo, their father, is largely uninterested (although not unloving), preferring to spend his time with his art collection, and, eventually, his mistress, until he is killed on 9/11.  As the triplets are about to move out, Johanna decides that she wants one last chance at motherhood, and has the fourth embryo of the bunch implanted.  Enter Pheobe, who, at 17,  is the only member of the family able to see things (more or less) clearly.

After much excellent exposition setting up the family dynamic, the crux of the matter becomes apparent.  The details would spoil the experience, but suffice it to say that Pheobe must overcome her siblings' old resentments and her mother's hang-ups, all formed long before she was born.  Naturally, she'll uncover old secrets and learn a few things about herself along the way.  But Phoebe is quite determined and not about to let her family members hide behind their usual evasive tricks.

Phoebe's narrative voice makes this book worth reading, even if, for most of the book.  A strong and surprising young woman, you may find yourself wishing that she would bring her considerable talents and persistence to solve the problems in your life.
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Having enjoyed The Plot, I was excited to get my hands (and eyes) on The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz. This family drama focusing on sibling relationships was a fascinating character study. I love my brother to bits, so it was interesting to read a portrayal of siblings who were generally disinterested in each other for a large portion of the book. 

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.
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Wow, this book! The layers of storytelling is simply impressive in this one. Johanna desperately wanted children but it was proving to be almost impossible. It was the early days of IVF and she eventually found herself pregnant with Triplets.
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These three have no real bond with each other and are truly awful during most of this book, yet I was sucked into this book. It’s always an interesting dynamic when I can’t stand a character, let alone three but I was really into this story. I don’t want to give too much away because I was really surprised by parts. If you are into books with complex family dynamics then look no further!
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Thank you @celadonbooks and @netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This was my first book by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m excited to have found such a great new (to me) author.
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What a great book! I love everything by this author and this book was no different! I couldn't put this down and was up all night waiting to see how it ended!
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This one just felt way too long and nothing was happening - very character driven... I liked his previous book but this one was not for me.
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For reasons I can't explain, my Advance Reader Copy of this lovely novel sat in my Kindle unexamined for far too long, and only surfaced when I read a glowing review.  What was I waiting for? 

To describe this as a generational saga is true but not at all the full story.  Yes, this is a novel about triplet siblings who simply have no need whatsoever for each other, who are part of a family that in many ways have no need for each other either, and who are drawn back together by time, guilt, maturity and an unexpected force.  But the real joy of this book comes from the tone of Korelitz's writing - light, empathetic yet critical at once (and the identify of voice of this narration is just one of the book's surprising pleasures). 

I cannot harmonize that the author of this gorgeous, warm, humane novel is the same as that of her recent The Plot, which I found to be a plot-driven exercise.  This is an entirely different book, and one that's well worth your time.  

Many thanks to NetGalley and Celadon Books for the Advance Reader Copy, my review of which is long overdue, to my detriment above all.
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The Latecomer is not what I expected at all. I enjoyed the plot - but this felt so much more family drama/character driven - minus a super integral plot until the very, very end.

I'm very impressed by the writing, the prose is so carefully crafted and quite poetic. But I felt like it got bogged down in so many words, and so many details at times that I found myself skimming a bit in hopes that something would happen. 

It was hard to really love this one when not one person in the story was very likable - and no-one liked each other which made it that harder to love. I am still quite baffled as to why these triplets hated each there so much. I still don't really get it. And the only semi-likable character, the names sake "latecomer" was too much of latecomer to the story that the enjoyable part f the book (the last 50-75 pages) could t really save this one.

I will definitely pick up what comes next from this author as I really enjoy the writing and careful thoughts that go into their stories - but this one was definitely not for me.
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I'll be honest, the chunky size of this one and hearing that it was a slow burner from other readers made me hesitate a little bit on this one, but complicated family stories are some of my favorites so I had to give it a whirl. And wow, this family is definitely living proof that money can't buy everything. The Oppenheimer siblings are raised with wealth and privilege in Brooklyn, but despite their mothers' adament insistence on their closeness, spend essentially their entire lives not just desparate for their own identities outside of their triplethood, but actively wanting to deny even their knowledge of each other. Even tragedy doesn't bring them together, but eventually the namesake latecomer, their younger sister Phoebe, wants to understand all that came before her. It's a long story, but it's incredibly well told, and I grew to really love this massively dysfunctional family (except for Harrison, he is terrible).
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The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz follows the Opperneimer family. It starts from the meeting of Salo and Johanna, the parents and their triplets born through IVF. Harrison, Lewyn and Sally are strangely not close nor share that "triplet" bond and they can't wait to go their own separate ways. When the teens leave for college, Johanna decides to have a fourth child! I really enjoy dysfunctional family drama books and reading about different dynamics of families. If you're into these types of books, I highly recommend picking up The Latecomer!
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"The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics."

This was just a book I really didn't jive with. I didn't love the characters and found it hard to feel invested. I think this one just wasn't for me not that the book did anything wrong. It felt like so much was happening at once and yet nothing at all was happening for the plot. Definitely more character driven than plot given, like many generational novels. I think that I may enjoy the authors other work and it is clear that her writing is established and done well.
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This is the second book that I've read from her. And it didn't disappoint. Love the eerie setting! You know it's a good book when the characters even though they are unlikable you still keep on reading it?
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The Latecomer is a sort of sweeping family multi-generational saga that can be so satisfying to read. We first meet Salo, the patriarch, at the turning point in his life. When he goes from being a normal young man to living in deep discontent and regret for the rest of his life. By the time he meets Johanna, he's given up on a lot of things most of us strive for in life and kind of settles. 

Johanna's one hope in life is to be a mother and after a lot of trouble, they finally conceive three "test tube" babies. The three children that come from the marriage, Harrison, Lewyn and Sally and all kind of as indifferent as their parents. Salo just kind of trudges through life, Johanna lives for her children, and none of them could care less about any of it, or each other. It isn't until Johanna gives birth to a fourth child, their true sibling who was conceived at the same time as the triplets, but frozen in wait until 18 years later, that a catalyst takes hold of the family and they all being to find their true selves. 

The Latecomer is beautifully written and compelling. It's a slow burner, much like it's title and characters suggest. Special thanks to Netgalley and Celedon Books for an advanced egalley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now.
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This was a DNF for me. The characters were a little too complex for me to follow everything, and there were SO many characters straddling different times.
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