Elizabeth L. (Salem, Oregon)
Perhaps it was the short days and ensuing light deprivation (like Russia!), but I had a very hard time finishing this book. The main problem is that the two major characters do not meet until 200 pages in and even then they exist in parallel more than together. And they are both are very depressed. But I would say that - apart for some editing mistakes that will hopefully be corrected - the writing itself is very good.
Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)
A Partial History: something IS missing
For the most part, I found A Partial History of Lost Causes to be quite interesting. I felt motivated about the primary characters.
However, there still remained a gap; I felt somewhat too isolated from these people and their lives. Something kept me from throwing myself, heart and soul, so to speak, into this book.
I kept thinking: ICY. Of course, being as much of the story occurred during Russian winters, this was a natural reaction. But often the characters seemed encased in walls of ice themselves.
I do look forward to the author's next effort: Jennifer DuBois definitely has a gift for writing. But I just hope to get bit closer to the hearts of her characters.
Lisa E. (Cincinnati, OH)
Jennifer duBois looks about twenty-five-years-old in her picture, and that is good news--may she have a long life in which to write more wonderful novels. Her characters have insights into the human condition that brought me up short and made me consider my own life. Aside from that, the novel is lively and engaging.
Martha D. (Poway, CA)
A Partial History of Lost Causes
I like many other wanted to like this more than I did. If I were to grade it on a scale of how much I appreciated it I would probably give it a 4 out of 5. But it was a little much for me and the characters weren't as engaging as I usually like. That being said Jennifer DuBios has some writing chops and I will definitely check out what any other books from her.
WDH (New Port Richey, FL)
I struggled between a 3 or 4 rating, but finally chose a 3. This is a well written story with a lot of detail about politics, places, people and how circumstances impact life. However, it read a bit slow and the overall tone was rather melancholy which made it difficult for me to engage with any of the characters or care about what happened to them. I am normally a fast reader, but it took awhile to finish this book.
Beverly K. (Lockport, IL)
A Partial History of Lost Causes
I’m a sucker for books that explore why we do the things we do and A Partial History of Lost Causes is a beautiful first novel that has two very different characters searching for love and meaning and the answer to their own “lost causes”. How Irina Ellison, an English lecturer from Cambridge, MA who believes she will develop Huntington’s disease and Aleksandr Bezetov, a Soviet chess champion turned political activist meet and interact is brought to life by Ms. DuBois with laughter and tears.
I learned quite a bit about Russia’s post-Communist era, not particularly something I thought I would enjoy, but I did. This isn't the type of book you idly pick up and skim through. You become engrossed and enchanted not only by the story, but also by the author's lyrical descriptions of Russia--harsh and beautiful.
Mary Ann B. (Louisville, KY)
I think this book is well written. It has two main characters, and it is interesting on how and why they meet. However, the characters themselves did not engage me. I didn't seem to care about their journeys.