IBG Wednesday Meetup - The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam

Hello all

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday evening.  Please bring your suggestions for the next book as well.

Quick precis of the novel.  I don't know whose recommendation it was, but thank you for your suggestion!


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. He is well accustomed to bribing a forever-changing list 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.

Blessed with intriguingly flawed characters moving through a richly drawn historical and physical landscape, The Headmaster's Wager is a riveting story of love, betrayal and sacrifice.



Hi All,

Apologies for the late post. I hope two and a bit weeks is enough time.

More info to follow.

See you soon,


Join or login to comment.

  • William

    Hello everyone

    Thanks to all who were able to make it last night. We felt that the book was no great shakes as a piece of literature, but did offer a fascinating insight into a familiar historical episode from the rarely documented perspective of the Chinese community in Vietnam.

    Next Wednesday book will be 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' by Maya Angelou, suggested by Marina. It beat 'Cocaine Nights' by JG Ballard and 'The Gathering' by Anne Enright in the vote. Date TBC.

    The next Tuesday book will be Homo Faber by Max Frisch, date also TBC, but likely to be August 5th.

    June 26, 2014

  • Sara

    So sorry I have to cancel on you but I have an emergency at work and won't be able to make it. Have a glass of wine for me!

    June 25, 2014

  • William

    Will not be able to reply to comments during the day, but please find my contact number above.

    June 25, 2014

6 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sometimes the best Meetup Group is the one you start

Get started Learn more

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy