A Partial History of Lost Causes

Honoree, 5 Under 35 2012

A partial history of lost causes book cover
ISBN 9781400069774
The Dial Press
Jennifer DuBois photo credit Ilana Panich-Linsman
Jennifer duBois

Jennifer duBois was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1983. She earned a BA in political science and philosophy from Tufts University and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. More about this author >

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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.

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.

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Jennifer duBois reading at the 2012 5 Under 35 Celebration

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