The Latecomer

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Latecomer book cover

Jean Hanff Korelitz – 2022

Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally Oppenheimer (in alphabetical order) were born to a very wealthy New York City family back in the 1980’s, when they were called test tube babies – triplets, in this case. The Latecomer is their story – and also the story of their mother Johanna, father Salo, and those who love or despise various Oppenheimers. Interestingly, it’s often an Oppenheimer who despises the Oppenheimers (one or more).

Privilege, self-delusion, crippling guilt, sometimes-laughable family drama, and the road leading toward acceptance of self and others – it’s all here. The author shines a light on the complexities of our attitudes toward race, in a wickedly clever plot twist that gave this reader much satisfaction. I promise you won’t see it coming.

I don’t pretend to have the formal literary education that would be needed to fully critique this complex but very readable book, but I have enough confidence in my taste as a reader to tell you that this is easily a five-star read. I’ve written a few discussion questions; feel free to use them in your own book discussion groups, but please direct group members to the link on this site rather than distributing the questions .

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