Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: The Dial Press (March 20, 2012)
In Jennifer duBois’s mesmerizing and exquisitely rendered debut novel, a long-lost letter links two disparate characters, each searching for meaning against seemingly insurmountable odds.
In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest. With his renowned Cold War–era tournaments behind him, Aleksandr has turned to politics, launching a dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin. He knows he will not win—and that he is risking his life in the process—but a deeper conviction propels him forward. And in the same way that he cannot abandon his aims, he cannot erase the memory of a mysterious woman he loved in his youth.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison is on an improbable quest of her own. Certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life—she struggles with a sense of purpose. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father had written to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father had asked the Soviet chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed against a lost cause?—but never received an adequate reply. Leaving everything behind, Irina travels to Russia to find Bezetov and get an answer for her father, and for herself.
Spanning two continents and the dramatic sweep of history, A Partial History of Lost Causes reveals the stubbornness and splendor of the human will even in the most trying times. With uncommon perception and wit, Jennifer duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.
“Thrilling, thoughtful, strange, gorgeous, political, and deeply personal, Jennifer duBois’s A Partial History of Lost Causes is a terrific debut novel. In prose both brainy and beautiful, she follows her characters as they struggle to save each other. This is a book to get lost in.”—Elizabeth McCracken
“An amazing achievement—a braiding of historical, political, and personal, each strand illuminating the other. Wonderful characters, elusive glimpses of wisdom, and a gripping story that accelerates to just the right ending.”—Arthur Phillips
“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination. Jennifer duBois is too young to be this talented. I wish I were her.”—Gary Shteyngart
Jennifer duBois is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently completing a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Originally from western Massachusetts, she lives in Northern California.
For more information on Jennifer and her work, please visit her website: jennifer-dubois.com.
Jennifer duBois’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, March 12th: Book Snob
Wednesday, March 14th: Bibliosue
Monday, March 19th: Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, March 20th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, March 21st: The Literate Housewife Review
Monday, March 26th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, March 28th: Book Club Classics
Thursday, March 29th: BookNAround
Monday, April 2nd: Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife
Wednesday, April 4th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, April 5th: She Treads Softly
Monday, April 9th: Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, April 11th: Jenny Loves to Read