Murakami Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | August 18, 2014

Ian Leslie: IMG Empathic Curiosity



Today, we wonder anxiously if digital media is changing our brains. But if there's any time in history when our mental operations changed... Continue »
  1. $18.89 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$11.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

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:

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.

Review:

"In Dubois's terrific debut, Aleksandr Bezetov arrives in Leningrad to study chess on the day of Stalin's centenary celebration in 1979 and meets two men who publish a dissident journal called A Partial History of Lost Causes. In Cambridge, Mass. in 2006, 30-year-old university lecturer Irina Ellison lives with a diagnosis of Huntington's disease, a hereditary degenerative illness that often leads to early death. After her Russophile father dies, Irina finds an unanswered letter he wrote after learning of his illness to Aleksandr asking how the chess champion is ever able to continue a game he knows he won't win. On impulse, Irena leaves her lover and her Cambridge life and goes to Russia to track down the retired chess champion and have him answer the question in person, only to find out that Aleksandr has taken up the biggest lost cause of all: running against Vladimir Putin for president of Russia. Moving between Aleksandr's past and Irina's present journey of self-discovery, the two stories eventually come together as Irina joins Aleksandr's quixotic political campaign and becomes swept up in his dangerous attempt to expose Putin. In time, these unlikeliest of allies form a touching bond based on Irina's diagnosis and the constant threats against Aleksandr's life. In urgent fashion, Dubois deftly evokes Russia's political and social metamorphosis over the past 30 years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship. (March)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"[An] astonishingly beautiful and brainy debut...[a] stunning novel." O: The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"In Jennifer duBois's gorgeous novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, the personal, theoretical, and political are braided together into a seamless whole....Moving yet startlingly funny — full of bravado, insight, and clarity. A Partial History of Lost Causes is a thrilling debut by a young writer who evidently shares the uncanny brilliance of her protagonists." Elle

Synopsis:

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

 

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:

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

“In Jennifer duBois’ gorgeous novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, the personal, theoretical, and political are braided together into a seamless whole. . . . Moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity. A Partial History of Lost Causes is a thrilling debut by a young writer who evidently shares the uncanny brilliance of her protagonists.”—Elle

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400069774
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
duBois, Jennifer
Author:
Dubois, Jennifer
Publisher:
The Dial Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20120320
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.53 x 6.57 x 1.2 in 1.48 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art
    Used Hardcover $17.50
  2. Queen of the Conqueror: The Life of... Sale Hardcover $10.98
  3. Love That Dog (Joanna Cotler Books)
    Used Trade Paper $3.95
  4. The Fault in Our Stars
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  5. My Dog Skip Used Trade Paper $2.50
  6. What They Do in the Dark Used Hardcover $8.95

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » New Arrivals
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Debut Fiction
A Partial History of Lost Causes Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Dial Press - English 9781400069774 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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Dubois's terrific debut, Aleksandr Bezetov arrives in Leningrad to study chess on the day of Stalin's centenary celebration in 1979 and meets two men who publish a dissident journal called A Partial History of Lost Causes. In Cambridge, Mass. in 2006, 30-year-old university lecturer Irina Ellison lives with a diagnosis of Huntington's disease, a hereditary degenerative illness that often leads to early death. After her Russophile father dies, Irina finds an unanswered letter he wrote after learning of his illness to Aleksandr asking how the chess champion is ever able to continue a game he knows he won't win. On impulse, Irena leaves her lover and her Cambridge life and goes to Russia to track down the retired chess champion and have him answer the question in person, only to find out that Aleksandr has taken up the biggest lost cause of all: running against Vladimir Putin for president of Russia. Moving between Aleksandr's past and Irina's present journey of self-discovery, the two stories eventually come together as Irina joins Aleksandr's quixotic political campaign and becomes swept up in his dangerous attempt to expose Putin. In time, these unlikeliest of allies form a touching bond based on Irina's diagnosis and the constant threats against Aleksandr's life. In urgent fashion, Dubois deftly evokes Russia's political and social metamorphosis over the past 30 years through the prism of this particular and moving relationship. (March)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "[An] astonishingly beautiful and brainy debut...[a] stunning novel."
"Review" by , "In Jennifer duBois's gorgeous novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, the personal, theoretical, and political are braided together into a seamless whole....Moving yet startlingly funny — full of bravado, insight, and clarity. A Partial History of Lost Causes is a thrilling debut by a young writer who evidently shares the uncanny brilliance of her protagonists."
"Synopsis" by , 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

 

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 , “[An] astonishingly beautiful and brainy debut . . . [a] stunning novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“In Jennifer duBois’ gorgeous novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, the personal, theoretical, and political are braided together into a seamless whole. . . . Moving yet startlingly funny—full of bravado, insight, and clarity. A Partial History of Lost Causes is a thrilling debut by a young writer who evidently shares the uncanny brilliance of her protagonists.”—Elle

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.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.