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.
Laurie H. (Stuart, FL)
Like a glass of fine red wine
Red wine and great books, these are a few of my favorite things!! I loved this book; it's nice to see that an author can have an original idea and follow it through with a great story. Like a glass of good wine, it's flavor unfolds slowly and you invest yourself in the characters; it does not disappoint. Curl up in your favorite chair and enjoy, I did.
Mary Ellen (Canfield, OH)
Not a lost cause
For a first novel from a young author, this is an amazing book. It is skillfully written in a clever style, interweaving the lives of its central characters looking for answers to life's difficult question.
The characters are more interesting than appealing. The story line proceeds through a political period (also pertinent today) in a compelling manner. It is a thought-provoking read.
Sarah H. (Arvada, CO)
A book worth quoting
It is rare that you find a book that combines both an engaging story and beautiful thought provoking prose. A Partial History of Lost Causes combines both, along with engaging characters and a universally accessible commentary that addresses the mundane, the cruel and the unexplainable parts of life. This is the kind of book that leaves me craving the next book from the author. And unlike some readers, I love having to go to the dictionary now and again during my reading. Having to do so every page becomes cumbersome, but a handful of well used words not in popular rotation restores the beauty of language that we have lost. I celebrate this book and it's author!
Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)
DuBois has written a marvelous meditation on what gives life meaning, what makes life worth living, and what is it about ourselves that makes us the same person as we move through time. This is a deeply philosophical novel, but it is also a tremendously engaging novel with interesting characters and two compelling, intertwined plot-lines that beautifully illustrate the odd similarities between individual health challenges and politics in oppressive countries.
Jill S. (Chicago, IL)
Hard to believe it's a debut!
One narrator is living under the shadow of Huntington's, a degenerative disease that killed her father. The other is a former world chess champion who is in a quixotic quest to unseat Vladimir Putin. Both are searching for answers about how to move forward when they're playing a moving match.
This is one of the freshest and most imaginative debuts I've read lately, approached with grace and thoughtfulness. Jennier DuBois writes with a hard-won maturity as her characters tackle that all-important question of why we keep playing if we know we cannot win. It's an achievement.
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.