An immensely talented writer whose work has been described as “incandescent” (Kirkus) and “poetic” (Booklist), Thomas Christopher Greene pens a haunting and deeply affecting portrait of one couple at their best and worst. Inspired by a personal loss, Greene explores the way that tragedy and time assail one man’s memories of his life and loves. Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the Headmaster of Vermont’s elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges. Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story and an exploration of the ties of place and family. The Headmaster’s Wife stands as a moving elegy to the power of love as an antidote to grief.
©2014 Thomas Christopher Greene (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"Love, tragedy and descent into madness"
This is a novel which, by turns, reveals the agony of love, grief, and movement into madness. It begins with a dreamy, brief scene depicting Arthur Winthrop, a headmaster in a Vermont boarding school, with his wife and small son, enjoying a family moment in Central Park. This scene is told in a way that evokes sense of a lovely impressionist painting. This is quickly followed by an abrupt shift, Arthur having been arrested for nudity in the park, and now being pressured by the police for an explanation. Only his mind is a jumble of confused memories.
Told in three parts, with only the first is related by Arthur himself, as he reveals to the listener an escalating plunge into confusion and loss of self control, losing his grip on the steady reserved life he has previously led. He says he is seeking "eternal truth," but the listener is witness to a man losing his hold on reality.
This is a story told through flashbacks, first and third person viewpoint, and a great deal of poetic language providing the atmosphere and mood. We piece it together as the author gives us glimpses into the slow decompensation of a man's mind.Although Arthur is far from an admirable character, I felt compelled to want to learn what led to his dissolution, and what follows is a revelation of events that clarify emotions so powerful that they are, to him, almost incomprehensible. The narration is quite good. It is a challenge to write a review without saying things that would give too much away. However, I found this a very intense story, well-written and well read.
"Slow Building Story With No Real Payoff"
ok. spent some time thinking about this book...and maybe the fact that I couldn't decide how to review it should make me give it a higher review..but i don't know, i just can't.
while the book is beautifully written...i just felt something was incomplete in the story. it is a very slow build and nothing in particular made me want to keep reading (though i did, to the end, so maybe it's sadness made me want to know how it ends). i guess i just felt like while there was some worthwhile prose and some interesting commentary on grief and how people handle it....but i'm not sure the book as a whole felt complete and i don't think i would recommend it to anyone.
"skip this one....."
Sad, depressing book, with a disappointing ending.
Nothing, the narrator did his best.
Sadness & disappointment really sum it up.
I couldn't wait for it to be over.
"Don't Understand the Hype"
A better story, better narrators. The people in the story are so miserable, by the end I felt there were no redeeming qualities.
The characters were well developed, maybe over-developed, but the story was lacking in development. The ending was so boring.
"People never remember events the same way"
I listened to "The Headmaster's Wife" while I was working on something else or while I was driving. I'm glad I didn't waste any actual time listening to this story because the story is dragged on at times.
The most interesting: The characters remembering the same events very differently. The least interesting: When Arthur elaborates on his fixation with Betsy. I felt like I was hearing the whispers of an aging pervert going through a mid-life crisis.
There were parts of the book that made me want to just forward to the very end. The only reason I stuck through the entire book was just so I'd reach the end. The book is split up into three parts; 1) Arthur and Betsy (Arthur's version); 2) Betsy and Arthur (Betsy's version) and 3) the present.
The narrator's performance could have been better but he's not the reason I didn't enjoy the book very much.
This is a sad book. Don't read this book if you're depressed. This book did not make me feel any better about aging. If anything, the author only highlighted the insecurities felt by aging people.
"Interesting story from different points of view"
I would say it was time well-spent, but there were times I wanted to give up on it. I was glad I did not. I found the first part of the story difficult to listen to mainly because I detested the character telling it. As the book progresses and the other points of view are revealed, my opinion of him changed. That is not to say I began to like him, but I understood him better.
The performance was well done; every character was recognizable.
The book was well written and imaginative. It is important to stick with it to the end, though. The beginning is difficult.
"A different male narrator would improve my rating"
This was a compelling story, but the first half was marred by the monotone of the male narrator. Tavia Gilbert narrated the second half of the book, and she was excellent, as always.
This reminded me of "The Silent Wife" and "Gone Girl". All (3) narratives are told from alternating POV.
The ending was beautiful, hopeful, and sweet. Vivid and lovely prose throughout.
"Great reading of a mediocre book"
The story line is weak but it held my attention while walking on the treadmill.
It started out good but went downhill pretty quickly. Very superficial. I was extremely disappointed. The narration was good though.
Fascinating story - I just couldn't "put it down"! I liked the way the characters seemed so innocent but spoke so honestly and vulgar at times. made them feel very relatable.
my only complaint is the voice of Arthur. the way he draaaaws out every word makes him sound like an exaggerated movie trailer narrator (think, "in a woooorld...")
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