Lam published his story collection Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, about a group of Toronto medical students, in 2007. Five years later his new novel demonstrates an exceptional versatility of setting and genre. The Headmaster's Wager is a historical novel set in Saigon before and during the American portion of the war. It takes place in Cholon, the Chinese district of the city, and tells the story of Percival Chen, a successful school headmaster whose life begins to unravel when his son gets into trouble with the Vietnamese authorities and must be sent away.
I loved being able to read about a slice of the Vietnam War from a fresh perspective. Lam does a great job of putting the reader into a distinct time and place, while telling a fast-moving and compelling story.