The Headmaster's Wager

The Headmaster's Wager - Vincent Lam A lot happened in this book, where to start? It took place over a few decades and even if a lot did not always happened to the character, then the world around him was re-shaped. Percival is the principal of an English school. Is he a good guy? Well what is a good guy? He is kind (sort of), he cares about his family and tries to make their lives better. But at the same time he spends a lot of time gambling and whoring. But I would call him a good guy, a naive stupid man who is neither good or bad. Just human.He leaves China when the Japanese comes. Then they come to Vietnam too (damn war is evil!). He marries, he has a son. He finds his father. The French, the Americans and later the Northern Army all fight over Vietnam (arghh I do not get communists! Fair, fair? There is nothing such as equal rights with them.) Yes this is a country that sees war, but it's not always present. He manages to stay away from much of it. But we do get a taste of the brutalities too.Other people we get to know is his son, his ex-wife, who was a sort of a harpy but I liked her. Teacher Mak, Percival's mistress and many more. It's not a happy book so all of these wont be happy in the end. I felt sorry of the country, and of the people, and all the metisse children. But war and shaping a new country is never easy. It's bloody, horrible and disgusting.I did come to realize that I know way too little of this era. Mostly cos what I know has been shaped through US eyes. And here we get the view of a Chinese man, who does not have it easy either as he is not liked either.An interesting story