The Headmaster's Wife

  • by Thomas Christopher Greene
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye, Kevin T. Collins, Tavia Gilbert
  • 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Kathi "Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy."

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.
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- Beth Anne "i like to read. i like to listen."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-25-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios