BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

With a clever concept, following four in vitro embryos and their wealthy parents, this novel is superior in plotting and character development.

The first three are two boys and a girl, born in the ’80s, and the fourth stays in a freezer until 20 years later.

Harrison is a cranky conservative; Sally is closeted and confused; and Lewyn, with no ambition nor ideas of what to do with his life, follows uncomfortably in the wake of the others.

The amazing plot point is the triplets’ complete dislike of each other and their alienation from their oblivious mother and their distracted father, who was emotionally devastated by a tragic accident during high school and is consumed with a love of modern art.

The fourth child is Phoebe, born after her triplet siblings have left home, but destined to bring them together. Each voice is heard and each contributes greatly to the whole as they talk to the reader but not to each other. Highly recommended.

Quote: “It was not precisely that she made him wish to be a better man; it was more than she made him WISH he wished to be a better man.”

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