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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.3 out of 5
5 Stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Absorbing and addictive, I didn't want to stop!

    From the opening chapters to the very last page, I was completely immersed in the family’s story: mother, father, and triplets. The narrative by the, at first, unnamed sibling was strong and confident, teasing me with its foreshadowing, urging me on deeper into the Oppenheimer family drama. I was hooked by not only the story but the author’s deliberate. Engaging writing style and delivery. The triplets initially put me off, each unpleasant in their way, but as I got their point of view and their stories came out, they won me over – even the obnoxious Harrison had his moments for me. The story is an absorbing family drama, but twists and turns in the plot floored me and kept me glued to the pages: definitely five-star surprises. However, the healing and forgiveness among family members ultimately made this such a satisfying reading experience for me. Won over to each character’s side, I was aching for their futures to work out. With its smart and smooth writing and delivery and its fascinating plot, I recommend THE LATECOMER to readers of literary fiction, especially those who enjoy epic family dramas. I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the publisher through "NetGalley."

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  • Enormously satisfying literary family drama

    The Latecomer is a compelling, layered character-driven story which follows the wealthy New York Jewish Oppenheimer family, which initially consists of parents and a set of triplets. Years later, a fourth child is born. The family members have an inability to connect and communicate with each other. The story spans decades and is composed of chapters which alternate between the POVs of different family members. The characters, although not all sympathetic, are complex and well-developed. Interesting cultural commentary is woven throughout. The plot is a slow burn but still offers plenty of surprises. I liked the deeper themes of this novel which included class, education, privilege, race, sexuality, identity, family dysfunction, grief, generational trauma and coming of age. The Latecomer is an enormously satisfying work of literary family drama. Thank you to Celadon Books for an early copy. #TheLatecomerBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

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  • Fascinating family dysfunction

    Underneath all the art and education and political stands and causes and society and social mores, The Latecomer is just about a family. A very, very, very dysfunctional family. A family with no apparent, reciprocated love whatsoever among them. No consideration, no concern of how their actions might affect any of the others, no remorse when they see the terrible hurt and humiliation they have caused. Johanna loved her husband Salo and dreamed of rescuing him emotionally from the tragedy of the automobile accident he caused and which she believed had ruined his life. In fact, ruined or not by the results of the auto accident, Johanna was little more than an afterthought to Salo. He didn’t treat her badly; he didn’t seem to care enough to treat her any way at all. He had his art and he drifted further and further away. A provider for the family but not part of it. Johanna’s other dream was to have that family, and her dream was full of vignettes of happy times together, sibling loving sibling, good natured rivalries, vacations and happy events to photograph and paste in the memory book. But the test tube triplets seem to have been born with a grudge, an inherent dislike of their siblings, and an aversion to spending any time with each other, or with their parents. Salo didn’t even seem to notice. Johanna tried time after time and method after method to bring them together, to realize her dream of that close, warm, loving family, but it was not to be. The Latecomer, Phoebe, is the fourth baby from the test tube. The triplets – Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally - don’t even take notice of her. She’s just some stupid, pathetic idea their mother had. They don’t want the siblings they have. Why would they want another one? The family is enmeshed in deceit. By chance, Salo meets the other survivor of the accident and embarks on a long-term affair and fathers a child, eventually deciding to leave the marriage on the same night Sally has decided to untangle the web of lies between her, Lewyn and her roommate/his girlfriend Rochelle. It’s all ugly. And sad. Very, very sad. Tragedy occurs. These tragic events would break most families, but this family is already broken. Always has been. Jean Hanff Korelitz’s books are not light, easy reading but the reward is excellent writing and a story full of literary and real-life references, clever wordplay, and complex, deep, well-developed, intriguing characters that make you cringe at their behavior and their seemingly inexhaustible capacity to hurt, to demean, to denigrate, to ignore. The first two-thirds of the book give us a lot of background and information about the parents and the triplets and what happened to them, or more importantly what did not happen, how their lives didn’t evolve as they might have wished. But, unfortunately, while you might work up a little sympathy for one or another character now and then, overall they are unlikable and create as much of their own hardship as what fate heaps on them. The emotion I mostly felt to this point was frustration, frustration with their behavior and frustration with the overwhelming amount of information to absorb. I began to wonder if all that art, history, politics, and social information was crucial to the story or just interesting surrounding or background material. However, “Part Three – The Latecomer” picks up the pace and makes this book too absorbing to put down and well worth sticking with the bit of detail overload. Secrets are discovered, interactions and relationships explored and there is more than one big, satisfying reveal. Everything is neatly and skillfully explained and tied together and the ending was perfect. Unexpected but perfect. Korelitz is a very talented author whose work I always enjoy. Thanks to Celadon Books for allowing me to be a Celadon Reader and providing an advance copy of The Latecomer via NetGalley for my reading pleasure and honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, recommend it without hesitation and look forward to the next read by this author. All opinions are my own.

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  • An interesting concept

    This is a very compelling read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The details of the family interactions were interesting and the plot twists were well placed in the story line. I look forward to the author's next book.

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  • Perfect

    The Latecomer is thought provoking, intriguing and quite satisfying. It unfolds slowly throughout the book and years but revelations are dropped into the story like mini grenades to peak the readers interest and promote the plot! Hanff Korelitz seems to create some seemingly unlikeable and unfeeling characters but as we keep reading our thoughts and impressions may change. Altogether a book that I wanted to open and read any time of the day.

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