Advance reader reviews of The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam.

The Headmaster's Wager

A Novel

By Vincent Lam

The Headmaster's Wager
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Aug 2012,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book


Page 1 of 3
There are currently 18 member reviews
for The Headmaster's Wager
Order Reviews by:
  • Carmen S. (Elkins, Arkansas)


    Deeply moving
    A beautiful, well told story.
  • Michael F. (Providence, RI)


    A beautiful debut
    Strikingly original and beautifully written, The Headmaster’s Wager is a brilliant and heartbreaking first novel. Percival Chen, the imperfect, barely likeable protagonist, is often frustratingly blind to his own circumstances as he attempts to navigate his way along the quiet edges of the Vietnam War. Vincent Lam, as a master of story, makes sure that Percival pays for each misstep he makes, and the reader cannot help but to ache along with him at every consequence he reaps. This is a book that keeps the reader engaged, with well-timed twists and surprises the entire way through. More than that, however, Lam has created characters that feel real and that, in the end, I care deeply about.
  • Carole V. (West Linn, Oregon)


    Best book all summer!
    This books takes place in Viet Nam at the end of the war; Percival is the headmaster of an elite school teaching English to students so they can be translators for the Americans. Percival turns a blind eye to events around him until it is too late. All the characters are flawed, but that is what makes the book so real. I loved this book, and it kept me reading late at night. I was thoroughly entertained, but also came away with a better sense of that time in history; our role in Vietnam, and also how we were perceived by the Vietnamese people. Not a moment wasted; he's an incredible writer, can't wait for more!
  • Erin G. (Dulles, VA)


    Brilliant
    I rarely say this, but I think this book was just about perfect. The story was expertly plotted and so tense I sometimes had to put the book down for a moment and take a deep breath, my fear for the characters was so real. Percival Chen is such a believable and fatally flawed character. My heart ached for him as he watched the consequences of his choices unfold. An absolutely unforgettable read.
  • Susan B. (Sarasota, FL)


    Reality in Vietnam
    Perceval Chen has a story to tell of being Chinese in Vietnam. He arrives there to find his father and life takes him along a path of being headmaster in a school teaching English to students who then become translators for the Americans in Vietnam.

    The book is well written and the characters well developed as the author brings us into this life, its reality and perceived reality. While I thought it started slowly by the end I couldn't put it down. A real tale of complexity and love, gain and loss, risk taking and rewards or lost wagers. Seen thru the eyes of those who experienced a war from the point of where they lived and made their lives is enriching reading for all.
  • Rayna T. (Auburn, CA)


    My initial review of The Headmaster's Wager
    I am not quite finished with the book yet as I got a late start on it. So far it is quite interesting and I will add to it later on. I find the 2 parents love and concern for their child touching as they will go to any lengths financially to get him back. I also find the parents relationship different considering that they are divorced and the wife is back biting him all the time. But at least they joined together to ransom him back.

    I will add to this shortly.
  • Daniel H. (Oak Lawn, IL)


    A worthy read
    It took me well into the middle of the book to come to care for Headmaster Chen. He is a very flawed, though not actually evil, character, whose bad life choices are instrumental in his undoing. That said, I came to like him more, when he fell unintentionally in love. As outside forces, in the form of Vietnam war sequelae, destroyed his status quo, the Headmaster became one of the many whose lives ware turned upside down, resulting in difficult choices in order to survive. Ultimately, I liked the book and story, though I would hardly call it a "must" read.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  143Happier at Home:
    Gretchen Rubin
  2.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh

All Discussions

Who Said...

It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.