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This title in other editions

A Partial History of Lost Causes

by

A Partial History of Lost Causes Cover

 

Staff Pick

I love books where the protagonists' stories are told in alternating chapters. That's one reason I'm enjoying Jennifer duBois's intelligent first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes; it's also richly layered and poignant.
Recommended by Darcy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/HEMINGWAY PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION

 

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. With uncommon perception and wit, duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

 

NAMED BY THE NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION AS A 5 UNDER 35 AUTHOR • WINNER OF THE CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD GOLD MEDAL FOR FIRST FICTION • WINNER OF THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

 

“Astonishingly beautiful and brainy . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

 

“I can’t remember reading another novel—at least not recently—that’s both incredibly intelligent and also emotionally engaging.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

 

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest: He launches 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.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison struggles for a sense of purpose. Irina is certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father wrote to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father asked the chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed in 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.

 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

Salon • BookPage

 

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

 

Praise for A Partial History of Lost Causes

 

“A thrilling debut . . . [Jennifer] DuBois writes with haunting richness and fierce intelligence. . . . Full of bravado, insight, and clarity.”—Elle

 

“DuBois is precise and unsentimental. . . . She moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies.”—The New Yorker

 

“A real page-turner . . . a psychological thriller of great nuance and complexity.”—The Dallas Morning News

 

“Terrific . . . In urgent fashion, duBois deftly evokes Russia’s political and social metamorphosis over the past thirty years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination.”—Gary Shteyngart

Synopsis:

FINALIST FOR THE PEN/HEMINGWAY PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION

 

NAMED BY THE NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION AS A 5 UNDER 35 AUTHOR

 

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

 

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. With uncommon perception and wit, duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

 

“Astonishingly beautiful and brainy . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

 

“I can’t remember reading another novel—at least not recently—that’s both incredibly intelligent and also emotionally engaging.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

 

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest: He launches 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.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison struggles for a sense of purpose. Irina is certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father wrote to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father asked the chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed in 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.

 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

Salon • BookPage

 

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

 

Praise for A Partial History of Lost Causes

 

“A thrilling debut . . . [Jennifer] DuBois writes with haunting richness and fierce intelligence. . . . Full of bravado, insight, and clarity.”—Elle

 

“DuBois is precise and unsentimental. . . . She moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies.”—The New Yorker

 

“A real page-turner . . . a psychological thriller of great nuance and complexity.”—The Dallas Morning News

 

“Terrific . . . In urgent fashion, duBois deftly evokes Russia’s political and social metamorphosis over the past thirty years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination.”—Gary Shteyngart

Synopsis:

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage

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. With uncommon perception and wit, duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

 

“I can’t remember reading another novel—at least not recently—that’s both incredibly intelligent and also emotionally engaging.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest: He launches 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.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison struggles for a sense of purpose. Irina is certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father wrote to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father asked the chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed in 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.

 

“Gorgeous . . . a thrilling debut . . . [Jennifer] DuBois writes with haunting richness and fierce intelligence. She has an equal grasp of politics and history, [and] the emotional nuances of her complex characters. . . . DuBois’s evocations of Russia are lush, and her swashbuckling descriptions, whether of chess games, a doomed political campaign, or the anticipation of death, are moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity.”—Elle

 

“Astonishingly beautiful and brainy . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“DuBois is precise and unsentimental. . . . She moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies.”—The New Yorker

 

“A real page-turner . . . a psychological thriller of great nuance and complexity.”—The Dallas Morning News

 

“Terrific . . . In urgent fashion, duBois deftly evokes Russia’s political and social metamorphosis over the past thirty years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination.”—Gary Shteyngart

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Pamela Ager, January 24, 2013 (view all comments by Pamela Ager)
One of my top 6 reads of 2012, this was seemingly an unlikely subject: in the present time an American woman with a slowly debilitating disease goes to find a former Soviet chess protege who played at the beginning of the cold war. I found myself not only transported to another time & place (the flash-back portion), but examining existential questions in the context of the past (1950s or so) & the present. The Russia depicted seemed genuine--oh so cold--and the essential question: What do you do when you know the cause/path/life you are pursuing is not going to come out the way you want/hope? How do you proceed? still haunts me many months after this reading. (It, after all, can be applied to this life we all find ourselves in--). I found this novel interesting, intriguing, & haunting. I'm very glad I took a chance & read it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780812982176
Author:
Dubois, Jennifer
Publisher:
Dial Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8 x 5.19 x 0.83 in 0.625 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Contemporary

A Partial History of Lost Causes New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Dial Press - English 9780812982176 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

I love books where the protagonists' stories are told in alternating chapters. That's one reason I'm enjoying Jennifer duBois's intelligent first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes; it's also richly layered and poignant.

"Synopsis" by , FINALIST FOR THE PEN/HEMINGWAY PRIZE FOR DEBUT FICTION

 

NAMED BY THE NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION AS A 5 UNDER 35 AUTHOR

 

NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY O: THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

 

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. With uncommon perception and wit, duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

 

“Astonishingly beautiful and brainy . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

 

“I can’t remember reading another novel—at least not recently—that’s both incredibly intelligent and also emotionally engaging.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

 

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest: He launches 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.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison struggles for a sense of purpose. Irina is certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father wrote to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father asked the chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed in 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.

 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

Salon • BookPage

 

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

 

Praise for A Partial History of Lost Causes

 

“A thrilling debut . . . [Jennifer] DuBois writes with haunting richness and fierce intelligence. . . . Full of bravado, insight, and clarity.”—Elle

 

“DuBois is precise and unsentimental. . . . She moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies.”—The New Yorker

 

“A real page-turner . . . a psychological thriller of great nuance and complexity.”—The Dallas Morning News

 

“Terrific . . . In urgent fashion, duBois deftly evokes Russia’s political and social metamorphosis over the past thirty years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination.”—Gary Shteyngart

"Synopsis" by , NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY

O: The Oprah Magazine • BookPage

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. With uncommon perception and wit, duBois explores the power of memory, the depths of human courage, and the endurance of love.

 

“I can’t remember reading another novel—at least not recently—that’s both incredibly intelligent and also emotionally engaging.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest: He launches 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.

 

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison struggles for a sense of purpose. Irina is certain she has inherited Huntington’s disease—the same cruel illness that ended her father’s life. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father wrote to the young Aleksandr Bezetov, she makes a fateful decision. Her father asked the chess prodigy a profound question—How does one proceed in 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.

 

“Gorgeous . . . a thrilling debut . . . [Jennifer] DuBois writes with haunting richness and fierce intelligence. She has an equal grasp of politics and history, [and] the emotional nuances of her complex characters. . . . DuBois’s evocations of Russia are lush, and her swashbuckling descriptions, whether of chess games, a doomed political campaign, or the anticipation of death, are moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity.”—Elle

 

“Astonishingly beautiful and brainy . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“DuBois is precise and unsentimental. . . . She moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies.”—The New Yorker

 

“A real page-turner . . . a psychological thriller of great nuance and complexity.”—The Dallas Morning News

 

“Terrific . . . In urgent fashion, duBois deftly evokes Russia’s political and social metamorphosis over the past thirty years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

“Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination.”—Gary Shteyngart

Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more.

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