- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Corvus; Main edition (1 May 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1782391711
- ISBN-13: 978-1782391715
- Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.1 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Headmaster's Wife Paperback – 1 May 2014
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A truly remarkable novel. I read the second half of The Headmaster's Wife with my mouth open, my jaw having dropped at the end of the first. Thomas Christopher Greene knows how to hook a reader and land him -- Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of EMPIRE FALLS An accomplished and artful storyteller, Greene has surprises in store as he unspools a plot that becomes as poignant as it is unpredictable -- Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED I devoured this book. Both psychologically complex and wickedly fast paced -- Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of PURE Incredibly beautiful and compulsively readable, The Headmaster's Wife will keep you mesmerized into the wee hours. A master storyteller, Greene's biggest achievement is proving that the most complex mystery of all is how and why we love -- Kimberly McCreight, bestselling author of RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA Greene's haunting tale tracks the unraveling of a marriage. It starts, eerily, with a naked man's arrest... then twists back in time through love, grief, betrayal, and love again Good Housekeeping US Nothing is what it appears in this brilliant story of a life gone awry... The author's true intentions make this tale even more remarkable, for the book is, at its core, a trenchant examination of one family's terrible loss and how the aftermath of tragedy can make or break a person's soul Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Thomas Christopher Greene was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom has worked in a staple factory; as an oyster shucker; as a speechwriter and spokesperson for a presidential campaign; as the director of public affairs for two colleges; and as a professor of writing and literature. In 2006, Tom founded the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a top New England arts college, making him the youngest college president in America at that time.
Top Customer Reviews
The unreliable narrator technique, whilst interesting, could have been used to better effect, and the ending is cloyingly banal. It is nevertheless emotionally stirring in parts, and has an intriguing setting, it just doesn't really go anywhere, fizzling out and shifting perspective when things start to get interesting. Perhaps if it'd been fleshed out more it would have made a compelling novel, but as it stands I wouldn't bother.
The first half of the story is told from Arthur Winthrop's point of view and you want to know how he managed to get himself into a situation where he is walking naked in the snow. I was gripped by the first part of the story. I liked the little snippets of conversation whilst Arthur is at the police station recounting what has led him up to this point and I wanted to know where the story was going. I was also constantly wondering when his wife would come into the picture, as the title makes you think that she has to come into at some point.
Without wanting to give anything away, I am not entirely sure how I felt about the twist. Initially I thought it was good and it made the story make sense, but I feel maybe the ending could have been different. That said it was still a compelling story that I just easily got into and read very quickly.
An intriguing, compelling novel that I think will capture your attention.
Through flashbacks the reader gets to know Arthur from when he was a young boy himself, until he followed in his father's footsteps to become the master of Lancaster School in Vermont. Happily married at first, he becomes increasingly frustrated with his life as he gets older (classic mid-life crisis, or so it seems) and he embarks on an affair with a student which eventually leads to his unbecoming.
Neither the cover nor the blurb of The Headmaster's Wife particularly spoke to me, so I was pleasantly surprised that it managed to capture my attention completely within the first few chapters. Right from the get-go the story was doused in oodles of intrigue and mystery and I was more than ready to admit that I had been wrong and that yes, I should really stop judging a book by its cover.
Unfortunately however, this is very much a book of two halves and for me the second part didn't work at all. Sure there were some (not so surprising) twist and turns which put the entire first half of the novel in a different perspective, but by doing so it actually took away that part of the story which had me so gripped from the first page.
So while this novel had an incredibly intriguing and engaging start, it unfortunately faltered in the middle and eventually disappointed in the end. It's a well-written story and the first half was compelling and solid enough for me to give it 3 stars, but it's a shame that it didn't continue on the same absorbing level until its conclusion.
The narrative begins with a shockingly out of character incident; Arthur Winthrop, headmaster of a prosperous American private school is found wandering naked through Central Park. He is arrested by the police, and whilst being interviewed, describes a series of events that lead up to a far more heinous crime.
The second half of the novel unravels the clearly distorted, and unreliable series of events that Winthrop has described in the previous section of the book. It gradually becomes clear just how far his psychological decline has taken him. A not unexpected twist begins to shed new light upon the events described, as we learn that whilst Winthrop's previous admission may not be that straightforward, and while his capable of despicable acts, just how far will his ruthless pursuit of the object of his affections will take him.
A gripping, interesting read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is well scripted detailing the background of the characters. The ensuing interwoven relationships through their timeframe,laced with love,tragedy and destiny.Published 12 days ago by rafferty pete
I rated the book well because it had lots changes which kept me interested &wanted more & it came to get her well.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Short, beautifully written, full of the pain of life. I found this novel hard to fault.Published 1 month ago by S. B. Kelly
I enjoyed this book it was well written and the plot was clever, I didn't have any sympathy for the characters as they were very shallow, I would recommend thisPublished 1 month ago by Avid Reader
In all honesty, this book is nothing special. It's an interesting read and keeps you wanting to know more but the style in which it's written and the plot are nothing new or... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Zuky Edgar
Arthur Winthrop is the headmaster of this story, and he is also the narrator of the first part of this novel. Read more
A beautiful, elegantly written book. I absolutely loved it - the twists were not seen coming and I did have a little weep at the last 'section'. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ms. S. Baxter