There is nothing I love more than picking up a book and being hooked within the first few pages. And if I’m honest, if the book doesn’t hook me within the first chapter I find it hard to keep going, (something I’m trying to work on in my own fiction). The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene was one that certainly had me within the first page.
The book tells the story of Arthur Winthrop who we are introduced to as he is walking naked through Central Park in the dead of winter. From here we are taken right into Arthur’s head as he relays his story, in first person, to the police, trying to explain how and why he was in the park with his ‘bare feet crunching wonderfully on the crusty snow beneath him.’
It is hard to review this book without giving anything away, but I will try.
To begin with I found the first person voice intriguing and within no time I had invested in Arthur as he slowly told his story which was sad, harrowing and at times disturbing. The narrative was sublime, and I don’t use that word lightly. It wasn’t too wordy or descriptive but each word was full and painted Arthur’s story just perfectly. There were moments when I wanted to stop reading, but I couldn’t. I had to know more.
There are a couple of twists along the way which will catch a few off guard. I wasn’t totally surprised by either and the ending was satisfying without being ‘perfect’, which is how I like a book to finish. I want to keep thinking about the characters and asking myself ‘what if?’. This book did just that.
I would have to say this is one of the best books I have read this year. There is no saggy middle, no drawn out scenes and no stretching of the imagination too far. It is a story that could very well be based on truth.
Although it is hard to say I enjoyed the book (it’s not a book that one could ‘enjoy’) it is gripping story and a remarkably written book. Certainly one I would highly recommend.
Have you read The Headmaster’s Wife?
What are you reading right now?