Book excerpt: “The Latecomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
July 10, 2022
Jean Hanff Korelitz, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Plot,” returns with “The Latecomer” (Celadon), a story of siblings whose fracturing family is about to get an earth-shattering new addition.
Read an excerpt below:
The Oppenheimer triplets—who were thought of by not a single person who knew them as “the Oppenheimer triplets”—had been in full flight from one another as far back as their ancestral petri dish. Not one of the three—Harrison (the smart one), Lewyn (the weird one), or Sally (the girl)—had a speck of genuine affection for either of the others, or had ever once thought of a sister or a brother with anything resembling a sibling bond, let alone as counterparts in a tender and eternal family relationship.
And this despite the years of all-consuming effort from at least one of their parents, to say nothing of the staggering advantages they had enjoyed, beginning with the not-inconsiderable price tag of their making! No, a lingering discontent overhung each of those three, and had since they were old enough to glean their shared origin story, judge their parents, and basically make up their minds about the other two. For eighteen years they’d been together, from that petri dish to their crowded maternal womb to their shared home on the Brooklyn Esplanade (and their shared summer cottage—not really a cottage—on the Vineyard) and their shared education (or indoctrination, in Harrison’s view) at the lauded Walden School of Brooklyn Heights, where a frankly socialist ethos stood in bald contrast to soaring tuition … and at no point did they ever grow closer, not even slightly, not even out of pity for their mother, who had wanted that so badly.
And then they were eighteen, and not just leaving home but desperate to begin three permanently separate adult lives, which is exactly what would have happened if the Oppenheimer family hadn’t taken a turn for the strange and quite possibly unprecedented. But it did—we did—and that has made all the difference.