Talking Location With… Fiona Valpy – Casablanca
The Headmaster’s Wager
Location(s): Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical
Era(s): Mid 20th Century
From 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. Well accustomed to bribing government officials, he is quick to spot the business opportunities rife in a divided country. He devotedly ignores all news of conflict, 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 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.
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