Nominated by:

Münchner Stadtbibliothek, Munich, Germany

Publisher of nominated edition:

Dial Press, USA

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Jennifer duBois      

2014 Longlist

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Jennifer duBois’s A Partial History of Lost Causes was one of the most acclaimed debuts of 2012. It was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and O: The Oprah Magazine chose it as one of the ten best books of the year. DuBois was also named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 authors. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, duBois recently completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Texas.

Librarian’s Comments

“A long-lost letter links two disparate characters, each searching for meaning against seemingly insurmountable odds; In St. Petersburg, world chess champion, Aleksandr Bezetov launches a dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old Irina Ellison knows she has inherited Huntington’s disease – the same illness that ended her father’s life.” Well drawn characters, vibrant scenes and imaginative descriptions.

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