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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Headmaster's Wager

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The Headmaster's Wager Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A superbly crafted, highly suspenseful, and deeply affecting debut novel about one man’s loyalty to his country, his family and his heritage

 

   Percival Chen is the headmaster of the most respected English academy in 1960s Saigon, and he is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list of government officials in order to maintain the elite status of his school. Fiercely proud of his Chinese heritage, he is quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country, though he also harbors a weakness for gambling haunts and the women who frequent them. He devotedly ignores all news of the fighting that swirls around him, 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 whom he is able to confide in. But Percival's new-found happiness is precarious, and as the complexities of war encroach further into his world, he must confront the tragedy of all he has refused to see.

   Graced with intriguingly flawed but wonderfully human characters moving through a richly drawn historical landscape, The Headmaster's Wager is an unforgettable story of love, betrayal and sacrifice.

Review:

"Lam's latest (after Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures) is a masterfully paced exploration of a world convulsed by war, wherein faith and reason no longer hold sway. Percival Chen, an affluent Chinese English instructor in late 1960s Saigon, is determined to escape the politics of war-torn Vietnam, profiting from the sidelines instead. He instructs his son, Dai Jai, to remain faithful only to their Chinese heritage, not realizing that even this allegiance has become a deadly liability. Obeying his father's edict, Dai Jai is arrested by Vietnamese authorities, and Percival exhausts his shady connections in his attempts to rescue Dai Jai from the brutality of the police. Meanwhile, Percival falls in love with Jacqueline — a mixed-race prostitute with ulterior motives — despite the objections of his loyal friend Mak, a man embroiled in his own mysterious affairs. Lam marshals his characters with humor, suspense, and tenderness as the fall of Saigon looms. Even as Percival navigates the minefield of shifting ideologies, treachery, and paranoia — incurring one inconceivable cost upon another — his devotion suffuses every page. Lam depicts a world caught in an implacable cycle of violence, leavened only by the grace of a father's love. Agent: Christy Fletcher." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

DR. VINCENT LAM is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam, and was born in Canada. Dr. Lam did his medical training and is an emergency physician in Toronto. His first book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, was awarded the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307986467
Author:
Lam, Vincent
Publisher:
Hogarth
Author:
Vincent Lam
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.6 x 1.4 in 1.675 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction

The Headmaster's Wager Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.50 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Hogarth - English 9780307986467 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Lam's latest (after Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures) is a masterfully paced exploration of a world convulsed by war, wherein faith and reason no longer hold sway. Percival Chen, an affluent Chinese English instructor in late 1960s Saigon, is determined to escape the politics of war-torn Vietnam, profiting from the sidelines instead. He instructs his son, Dai Jai, to remain faithful only to their Chinese heritage, not realizing that even this allegiance has become a deadly liability. Obeying his father's edict, Dai Jai is arrested by Vietnamese authorities, and Percival exhausts his shady connections in his attempts to rescue Dai Jai from the brutality of the police. Meanwhile, Percival falls in love with Jacqueline — a mixed-race prostitute with ulterior motives — despite the objections of his loyal friend Mak, a man embroiled in his own mysterious affairs. Lam marshals his characters with humor, suspense, and tenderness as the fall of Saigon looms. Even as Percival navigates the minefield of shifting ideologies, treachery, and paranoia — incurring one inconceivable cost upon another — his devotion suffuses every page. Lam depicts a world caught in an implacable cycle of violence, leavened only by the grace of a father's love. Agent: Christy Fletcher." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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