Audiobook Review: The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz


Release date: May 31, 2022

Publisher: Celadon

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


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.


This is one of those middle of the road reads for me, I didn’t dislike it but I also didn’t love it either. I appreciate what the author was doing and knew what she was trying to say but it too way too long to get there and it was a slog for me to get through it. The Oppenheimer family was full of unlikable people and hearing them whine and behave terribly became grating for me quickly. I’m one hundred percent sure that I would have given up on this one but since I listened to the audio version and Julia Whelan narrates I was drawn in enough by her amazing performance I stuck it out. I seem to be in the minority here though so take my review with a grain of salt. I was also an outlier with my thoughts on The Most Fun We Ever Had so I think these dense and wordy family stories are maybe just not for me.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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