Books: “The Latecomer” by Jean Hanft Korelitz
Poor Johanna Oppenheimer. She’s a Skidmore grad who marries Salo (short for Salomon), an NJB from a wealthy Manhattan family. She wants nothing more than to settle down and have a family of her own.
Johanna and Salo try and try to get pregnant but to no avail. Finally, thanks to IVF, they have triplets.
“The Newcomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz is the story of how, despite the best efforts of Johanna, the triplets grow up to dislike one another. Intensely.
The snark-laden, smart narrative switches seamlessly from one triplet’s POV to another. Harrison, the smartest (and the smarmiest) decides on a nontraditional college where he rises at 5 am to pluck chickens. The other two (one male, one female) attend Cornell, where they diligently avoid each other. There’s also a fourth child—born 20 years later, also via IVF—who is the eponymous “Latecomer.”
TN touches sensitively on so many subjects—surrogate birth, lesbianism, the absurdities of the art world, interracial romances, and brother vs brother vs sister. Oh, and the Mormon faith too. The plot twists are relentless and so is the humor. The chapter where one triplet takes his Jewish sweetheart to a Mormon pageant is LOL funny and worth the read alone.
Korelitz’s 2014 novel “You Should Have Known” was adapted into the HBO series “The Undoing” starring Nicole Kidman. I hope they make this book into a series as well, which will be equally fun to watch. Actually, considering the subject matter, triple the fun.