Presenting: Vincent Lam's The Headmaster's Wager

Justin Sorbara-Hosker, Chapters Indigo Blog
January 25, 2012

n terms of Canadian Literature, 2011 should prove to be a tough act to follow.  It's early days yet, but we're starting to hear about some tantalizing releases that should be coming our way before the end of 2012 - and we're happy to reveal a cover to a fiction title that is long-awaited, highly anticipated, and certain to be among the most intriguing Canadian works of fiction this year.  

Vincent Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures was one of the more high profile debuts in recent memory - a collection of linked short stories exploring the medical profession, which went on to win the Giller for 2006 and become an HBO miniseries.  Critically acclaimed and a commercial success, Lam looks to be ready to duplicate that success (if not inflate it) on April 24, 2012, with the release of his debut novel, The Headmaster's Wager.  

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 forever changing lists 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.  

Check back with the Indigo blog in the days leading up to release for more coverage of this highly anticipated novel.

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