Desire Cordier - mild-mannered former librarian, put-upon husband, lover of boules - is losing his mind. Or is he? Happily tucked away in the Winterlight Home for the Elderly, Desire is looking forward to a quiet retirement with the other forgetful residents, safe in the knowledge that no one knows he's faking his memory loss. And as if there weren't reasons enough to opt out of the modern world, it would be worth it just to see Rosa Rozendaal again - the love of Desire's youth, the one who got away.
But dementia isn't all fun and games. There's a former war criminal hiding out in the home; once-beautiful Rosa might be too far gone to return Desire's ardour; and our hero soon begins to suspect he might not be the only one in Winterlight who's acting a part... A tender love story of demented minds and honourable hearts, and a razor-sharp satire of the indignities of old age and the callousness of caregiving, The Latecomer excoriates our society and asks: might we all be better off forgetting?