The Headmaster's Wager
From Giller Prize winner, internationally acclaimed, and bestselling author Vincent Lam comes a superbly crafted, highly suspenseful, and deeply affecting novel set against the turmoil of the Vietnam War. Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English school in Saigon. He is also a... show more
From Giller Prize winner, internationally acclaimed, and bestselling author Vincent Lam comes a superbly crafted, highly suspenseful, and deeply affecting novel set against the turmoil of the Vietnam War. Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English school in Saigon. He is also a bon vivant, a compulsive gambler and an incorrigible womanizer. He is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of the Chen Academy. He is fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, and quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, choosing instead to read the faces of his opponents at high-stakes mahjong tables. But when his only son gets in trouble with the Vietnamese authorities, Percival faces the limits of his connections and wealth and is forced to send him away. In the loneliness that follows, Percival finds solace in Jacqueline, a beautiful woman of mixed French and Vietnamese heritage, and Laing Jai, a son born to them on the eve of the Tet offensive. Percival's new-found happiness is precarious, and as the complexities of war encroach further and further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see. Blessed with intriguingly flawed characters moving through a richly drawn historical and physical landscape, The Headmaster's Wager is a riveting story of love, betrayal and sacrifice.
Publish date: April 24th 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages no: 400
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Historical Fiction
, Literary Fiction
Percival Chen is headmaster of a school that teaches English to Vietnamese in Cholon, a suburb of Saigon. It is the early 1960’s and business is good as an ever-growing presence of American military personnel in the country means there is an increasing need for translators. Chen is a weak indivi...
A Chinese man watches the beginning of the Vietnam War and beyond in this first novel by Dr. Vincent Lam. I had gone back and forth about whether to read it (the blurb did not intrigue me) but I decided to pick it up on a whim at the library. And was it a great chance pick, all things considered. ...
Mr. Lam’s first novel is a fiction inspired by his own family history.At the heart is the story of Chen Pie Sou, also known as Percival, the headmaster of the prestigious Percival Chen English Academy in Cholon, a small city near Saigon. This character is loosely based on Mr. Lam’s grandfatherIt beg...
A lot happened in this book, where to start? It took place over a few decades and even if a lot did not always happened to the character, then the world around him was re-shaped. Percival is the principal of an English school. Is he a good guy? Well what is a good guy? He is kind (sort of), he cares...
After Anouk Markovits' I Am Forbidden blew my mind, I was pretty curious to see what Hogarth's other offerings would be like, and if they continue putting out books as good as this and I Am Forbidden, then I will be a very happy, happy readergirl.Forgive me in advance for my clumsy attempt to summar...