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Summary

Hartmann was a German, Fibich an orphan of World War II....

A novel about human relationships, focusing, unusually for Brookner, on two male characters. Hartmann and Fibich met at school and 40 years later they can no more think of living apart than of divorcing their wives. This book deals with their gradual coming to terms with the emotional gaps in their lives.

©1998 Anita Brookner (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Latecomers

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Profound

Favourite Brookner so far - she is so perceptive about middle class women and men of my parents’ generation, their ideas and hang ups. She also illuminates some universal truths about how to enjoy life. And Andrew Sachs is superb

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  • David P
  • 15-01-17

Subtle Study of Characters

In one of her later interviews, Anita Brookner said she thought she should have won the Booker Prize for this novel, not Hotel du Lac. Latecomers is the story of a lifelong friendship between two men who meet in boarding school after the trauma of WWII. It is a short novel, but covers their lives and the lives of their wives, children, and grandchildren. It moves through decades quickly, often in the form of summary. It's oddly constructed but, like everything Brookner wrote, beautifully observed and deeply felt and with magnificently crafted sentences. There's not much in the way of plot, but the book's dissection of character is often compelling. There's something solemn about this novel, but it still has Brookner's gorgeous wit and flashes of humor. Andrew Sachs reads beautifully and uses his voice with artful subtlety to make distinctions in characters and accents.

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  • M. J. Walsh
  • 26-09-21

Chamber music in exile

Unusually for the author this book is an intimate examination of a family, both real and acquired through exile. A melancholy, elegaic tone permeates a relatively short account of multiple lives linked to two men who escaped Germany as children in the last days before WW2. After meeting by chance they become brothers in adversity and, although so different, they begin a shared life in London. Prosperity, marriages and children eventually follow.

Many authors would turn this kind of down through the years, multi-generational narrative into a door-stopper epic. Brookner does not. As usual she is interested in the inner lives of her characters and their comings and goings are seldom described in detail.

It is also not her best work. In attempting to explore multiple characters in the same book she is not able to reach the same meticulous focus she usually achieves with her single protagonist novels. The reading by Andrew Sachs is exemplary but that lack of sharp focus hinders engagement.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-21

Nothing short of brilliant.

Brookner and Sachs at their very best, story unusually optimistic and very moving; highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-03-21

Tea and Sympathy

This is a sympathetic look at two families. Everyone is trying their best, their best foot forward, though it’s hard at times. But they come through. What’s dated in the book is that it’s very unpolitical. It’s a bubble of privilege untouched by the world outside. At the sentence level, it’s delicious. Brookner serves cosmopolitan elegance and the excellent narrator, Andrew Sachs, is a match to her. He’s poised and he nails the French and German words with which Brookner seasons the narrative.