All characters in Anita Brookner's novel "Latecomers" are ordinary people. There is nothing special about any of them - except that they managed to be friends for more than fifty years, though all four of them are very different. There are no major upheavals in their lives - the book is about "ambiguous pleasures of friendship and domesticity" as the cover annotation describes it. However, if we are to analyze "Latecomers" from the point of view of the concepts and theories of human behavior in social environment, the most interesting character is Thomas Fibich. All other characters would be considered only with regard to their essentiality for understanding his personality. As Longres points out, "in a systems approach. human behavior is seen as the result of a multiplicity of factors, both internal and external" (Longres, 1995, p. 16). .
The external factors influencing Thomas Fibich's personality development are numerous. Fibich (as everybody including his wife calls him) is a white male in his sixties who was born in Germany and was evacuated as a young boy to England before the World War II. It is not explained why his parents decided to send him away, but considering the social and political situation in Germany it might have to do with his nationality (if he is Jewish) or his parents political affiliation. .
Levy-Warren (1987) discusses the role of culture in the identity formation, and how cultural relocation "shakes identity to its core" (p.240). Fibich was seven years old when he was brought to England, and his first encounter with the English culture was not a favorable one. His school, a "decrepit but expensive establishment" with "incompetent, irascible masters" would have been hell to the little boy if he had not been "paired" with Hartmann (Brookner, p.8). Even under better circumstances, a move from one's culture of origin can be compared to the loss of a loved person (Levy-Warren, 1987).