Excerpt from The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Headmaster's Wager

A Novel

by Vincent Lam

The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam X
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 448 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Mak sighed, “I have to go down to teach.”

“Thank you for telling me about the girl. He must marry a Chinese.” “I was mostly concerned about the school; your son with a student, the issue of appearances.”

“That too. Get someone else to take your second- period class this morning. We will go to Saigon to address this problem, this new directive.”

“Leave it.”

“No.”

“Why don’t you think about it first, Headmaster?” “I have decided.” Mak was right, of course. It was easy to hire a Vietnamese teacher— but now Percival felt the imperative of his stubbornness, and the elation of exercising his position.

“I’ll call Mr. Tu. He is discreet. But Chen Pie Sou, remember it is our friends in Saigon who allow us to exist.” Mak used Percival’s Chinese name when he was being most serious.

“And we make it possible for them to drink their cognac, and take foreign holidays. Come on, our gwan hai is worth something, isn’t it?” If the connections were worth their considerable expense, why not use them? Mak shrugged, and slipped out.

Had Percival been too harsh on Dai Jai? Boys had their adventures. But a boy could not understand the heart’s dangers, and Dai Jai was at the age when he might lose himself in love. A good Chinese father must protect his son, spare him the pain of a bad marriage to some Annamese. The same had destroyed Chen Kai, even though she was a second wife. Now, the Vietnamese language threatened to creep into Chen Hap Sing. Looking out over the square, watching the soldiers clean their rifles with slow boredom, he saw it. The events had come together like a pair of omens, this new language directive and Mak’s mention of Dai Jai’s infatuation. Under no circumstance could he allow Vietnamese to be taught in his school. He must be a good example to his son, of being Chinese. Percival went downstairs and found Han Bai, his driver, eating in the kitchen. He told him to buy the usual gifts needed for a visit to Saigon, and to prepare the Peugeot to go to a meeting.

Excerpted from The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam. Copyright © 2012 by Vincent Lam. Excerpted by permission of Hogarth Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Timekeepers
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield
    If you can spare three minutes and 57 seconds, you can hear the driving, horse-gallop beat of Sade&#...
  • Book Jacket: How to Stop Time
    How to Stop Time
    by Matt Haig
    Tom Hazard, the protagonist of How to Stop Time, is afflicted with a condition of semi-immortality ...
  • Book Jacket: Mothers of Sparta
    Mothers of Sparta
    by Dawn Davies
    What it's about:
    The tagline on the back cover of Mothers of Sparta says it all: "Some women...
  • Book Jacket: Fortress America
    Fortress America
    by Elaine Tyler May
    In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the secrets they hold.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Only Child
    by Rhiannon Navin

    A dazzling, tenderhearted debut about healing, family, and the exquisite wisdom of children.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Next Year in Havana
    by Chanel Cleeton

    a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she finds a family secret hidden since the revolution.
    Reader Reviews

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:

G O T P, B The P, F T P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.