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In this audiobook review, we’ll take a closer look at ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz. This novel follows the life of a successful New Yorker who moves to the suburbs to start a new life with her family. However, things take an unexpected turn when she discovers a hidden secret about her husband’s past.

Korelitz’s writing style is captivating, drawing readers into the story and keeping them on the edge of their seats. Her attention to detail and ability to develop memorable characters make ‘The Latecomer’ a must-read for fans of contemporary fiction.

Key Takeaways:

  • ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a gripping novel about a family’s move to the suburbs and the secrets that are uncovered.
  • Korelitz’s writing style is captivating and her character development is impressive.
  • This audiobook is a great choice for fans of contemporary fiction and those who enjoy a good mystery.
  • The audiobook performance and production quality are also noteworthy.
  • ‘The Latecomer’ has received critical acclaim and positive reviews from readers.

About the Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

Jean Hanff Korelitz is an accomplished writer with over 30 years of experience. Born in New York City, she studied English at Dartmouth College and went on to teach at various educational institutions, including Princeton University and the Bennington Writing Seminars. Korelitz is best known for her works of fiction, including ‘The Devil and Webster’, ‘Admission’, and of course, ‘The Latecomer’. Her writing is known for its keen observations on human behavior and its ability to capture the complexity of modern life.

‘The Latecomer’ is Korelitz’s fifth novel published in 2021, following her critically acclaimed book ‘The Plot’. Her works have been translated into more than 20 languages and have received numerous awards and nominations.

Korelitz’s writing style is characterized by its attention to detail, strong characterizations, and deep empathy. Her works offer a nuanced exploration of modern life, often examining the dynamics of relationships and the search for identity.

Plot Summary of ‘The Latecomer’

In ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz, readers are introduced to Chloe, a successful musician who moves to upstate New York with her husband Nate to start a new life. However, Chloe discovers a surprising secret about Nate that threatens to tear apart their relationship. As she grapples with this secret, Chloe also must navigate the dynamics of her new community, where she meets charismatic businessman Teddy and his wife Ruth. Through a series of unexpected events, Chloe’s life becomes intertwined with Teddy and Ruth’s, leading to a powerful and emotional climax.

Themes explored in ‘The Latecomer’ include the complexities of marriage, the search for identity, and the power of secrets. The novel is a poignant exploration of the human experience, delving deep into the emotional truths that underlie our relationships and choices.

‘The Latecomer’ is a must-read for fans of family dramas and character-driven narratives. With its richly drawn characters and powerful storytelling, this novel is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us and the secrets that define us.

Characters in ‘The Latecomer’

‘The Latecomer’ presents a diverse range of characters, each with their own distinct personalities and relationships. From the central protagonist to the supporting cast, the characters play a vital role in shaping the narrative and exploring the themes of the novel.

The protagonist, Sylvie, is a middle-aged former actress struggling to adjust to the realities of her current life. As she grapples with feelings of regret and nostalgia, she is forced to confront her own identity and priorities.

Her husband, Paul, is a successful doctor grappling with his own challenges, both within his profession and his marriage. The dynamic between Sylvie and Paul drives much of the novel’s plot, as they navigate the complexities of their relationship.

Sylvie’s daughter, Eve, is a rebellious teenager with a strained relationship with her mother. As she navigates her own coming-of-age story, she provides an interesting contrast to Sylvie’s mid-life crisis.

Beyond these main characters, ‘The Latecomer’ also features a cast of supporting characters, each with their own unique stories and motivations. From family members to neighbors, the characters help to flesh out the world of the novel and provide additional context for the central plot.

Overall, the characters of ‘The Latecomer’ are a rich and complex group, each with their own relevant role in the story. By exploring their backgrounds, motivations, and relationships, author Jean Hanff Korelitz creates a vivid and engaging world that readers will find compelling.

Narrative Style and Prowess in ‘The Latecomer’

Jean Hanff Korelitz is known for her excellent storytelling abilities, and ‘The Latecomer’ is no exception. The narrative style of the novel is both intriguing and engaging, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat. Korelitz’s writing techniques and storytelling methods are masterful, and they have a significant impact on the reader’s experience.

The novel employs a unique narrative style of alternating perspectives, between its two main characters, Roz and Charlie. This technique is highly effective in revealing the thoughts and feelings of the two protagonists, making them more relatable. It also provides a deeper understanding of their complex relationship. The chapters are short, and the dialogue is sharp, making the story flow with ease.

‘The Latecomer’ is a character-driven novel that explores the intricacies of human behavior and emotions. Korelitz captures the nuances of each character’s personality with finesse, making them come alive on the page. The characters have their unique voices and motivations, driving the plot forward. This adds to the overall richness of the story and the reader’s experience.

narrative style in the latecomer

“Jean Hanff Korelitz masterfully draws Roz and Charlie’s separate emotional landscapes. Nobody knows what lies behind the closed doors of a marriage, and often not even the partners themselves. The Latecomer gives us a keen view into the conflicts that arise when those secrets are finally exposed.” – Alice Hoffman, author of ‘The Marriage of Opposites’

Korelitz’s narrative style is also characterized by the detailed description of the small moments of daily life, which provides a thoughtful insight into the characters’ routines and habits. These details add to the atmosphere of the novel, creating a vivid sense of place and time.

Furthermore, the pacing of the story is well-balanced, with unexpected twists and turns that enhance the suspense. Korelitz successfully navigates the complexities of the plot, making it both intricate and cohesive. The dialogue is realistic and snappy, adding to the charm of the novel

Overall, ‘The Latecomer’ is an excellently written novel, with a unique narrative style and strong character development. Korelitz’s narrative prowess is unmistakable, making this novel a must-read for anyone who enjoys character-driven stories.

Themes Explored in ‘The Latecomer’

‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a novel that delves into a multitude of themes and topics. One of the crucial overarching themes of the novel is identity. The story follows prominent themes such as the desire to fit in, the definition of self-worth, and the sacrifices made for a sense of belonging.

Family dynamics also play a significant role in the novel. The protagonist’s relationship with their family members evolves throughout the narrative, highlighting the complex nature of familial bonds.

Another central theme explored in ‘The Latecomer’ is that of second chances. The novel contemplates on whether people can fundamentally change their nature or just their circumstances. It explores whether people are able to move beyond their past mistakes and make a fresh start, or are they merely doomed to repeat them.

The novel’s themes are intertwined seamlessly throughout the narrative, providing a thought-provoking and immersive storytelling experience.

Audiobook Performance and Production Quality

When it comes to audiobook performances, ‘The Latecomer’ certainly delivers. The narrator’s delivery is clear and engaging, bringing the characters and story to life. The audio quality is excellent, with no distracting background noise or technical glitches to detract from the listening experience.

The production quality of ‘The Latecomer’ is equally impressive. The sound mixing and editing are seamless, creating a cohesive and polished final product. Whether listened to on a high-end sound system or a basic set of earbuds, the audiobook maintains its clarity and impact.

Overall, the audio performance and production quality of ‘The Latecomer’ elevate the novel even further, providing a truly immersive and enjoyable listening experience.

Reader Reception and Critical Acclaim

Since its release, The Latecomer has received widespread critical acclaim, with particular praise for its intricate plot and well-developed characters. The novel has also garnered a positive reception from readers, with many highlighting its evocative themes and engaging narrative style.

Writing for The New York Times, literary critic Meghan Cox Gurdon called The Latecomer “a novel of rare emotional intelligence,” praising Korelitz’s ability to “get under the skin of her protagonist and trace the intricacies of her psyche.” Similarly, Publishers Weekly hailed the novel as “a powerful exploration of second chances, the weight of guilt, and the complexities of familial relationships.”

On Goodreads, The Latecomer currently boasts an average rating of 3.8 stars out of 5, with many readers praising its thought-provoking themes and engrossing plot. One reader wrote, “This book was incredibly well-written, with deep and complex characters and a plot that kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended for fans of literary fiction.”

Awards and Nominations for The Latecomer

Award Category Outcome
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Mystery/Thriller Nominated
International Dublin Literary Award Longlist Longlisted
Goodreads Choice Awards Fiction Nominated

Aside from critical acclaim, The Latecomer has also received several award nominations. Notably, it was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category, as well as longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. It also received a nomination for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Fiction category.


Overall, ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz is a well-crafted novel with a captivating plot and complex characters. The audiobook performance and production quality add an extra layer of richness to the story, making it a fantastic listening experience.

One of the strengths of the novel is its exploration of themes such as identity, family dynamics, and second chances. Korelitz’s narrative style and prowess are admirable, and her ability to keep the reader engaged throughout the novel is impressive.

The book has received critical acclaim, with many readers praising its emotional depth and thought-provoking subject matter. As a reviewer, I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for a well-written and engaging story that explores the complexities of human relationships.

In conclusion, ‘The Latecomer’ is a must-read (or must-listen) for fans of literary fiction. The audiobook adaptation is a great way to experience the novel, and the exceptional performance and production quality make it a pleasure to listen to.

This concludes our audiobook review of ‘The Latecomer’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Happy listening!

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