Check out the cover of The Latecomer.
Jean Hanff Korelitz
Jean Hanff Korelitz
| Credit: Michael Avedon

Jean Hanff Korelitz has been having quite a year. Last fall The Undoing — HBO's adaptation of her 2014 novel You Should Have Known — riveted viewers and nabbed two Emmy nominations. This summer her latest novel, The Plot, became a New York Times best-seller and a Tonight Show Fallon Summer Reads pick (catch her on the show discussing the book tonight). And now EW has a first look at her next literary sensation.

The Latecomer (due April 19) follows the Oppenheim triplets, children of a rich New York City family who discover that a fourth sibling, the long-gestating egg from their in-vitro procedure, has just been born. They're about to head off to college, but not without significant revelations — and the ensuing complications — that the newest Oppenheim brings forth.

To celebrate the cover reveal of the book (below), Korelitz answered EW's burning book questions, telling readers about her earliest writing memories and teasing what's to come in The Latecomer.


What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?

A two-line poem in second grade. I remember it, but I'll spare you. Suffice to say that it was about kittens.

What is the last book that made you cry?

Four Friends: Promising Lives Cut Short, by William D. Cohan.

Which book is at the top of your current to-read list?

The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall, The King of Confidence, by Miles Harvey, and whatever Thomas Perry writes next.

The Latecomer
'The Latecomer,' by Jean Hanff Korelitz
| Credit: Celadon Books

Where do you write?

All over my house: bed, sofa, chair. Also, coffee shops. I'm partial to Le Pain Quotidien.

Which book made you a forever reader?

Probably Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, which was so wonderfully written that I can still recall many sentences, and the final lines still destroy me. (Also, don't get me started on the "Poor Ginger" chapter.) I was one of those girls who loved horses, so I also read a lot of Marguerite Henry. My favorite was King of the Wind.

What is a snack you couldn't write without?

I'm relieved to say there isn't one!

If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be?

About the books themselves, nothing. I do regret having entrusted my third novel, The White Rose, to Harvey Weinstein's short-lived Miramax Books, and I wish I'd taken my mother's advice about my sixth novel, The Devil and Webster, and named it The Devil and Webster College. I think more people might have read it if I had.

What is your favorite part of The Latecomer?

It is far from autobiographical, but I love the way it reflects so many of my personal preoccupations: crazy families, religion, politics, art, and of course… hoarders!

What was the hardest plot point or character to write in The Latecomer?

Writing about six separate members of a single family was daunting, and allowing one of those characters to be a first-person narrator is something I haven't attempted since college.

Write a movie poster tagline for the book:

All unhappy families are different, but no unhappy family has ever been quite as different as the Oppenheimers.

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