Monday, March 12, 2012
Life is like a chess game and A Partial History of Lost Causes is the manual on how to live a life doomed to be interrupted by death. A Partial History of Lost Causes is the story of two unique individuals and their journey through life to a crossroads where their lives intersect.
Alexsandr's character is loosely based on the real life Russian chess champion Garry Kasparov. Alexsandr is the King of the novel who retires from chess and decides to run a losing campaign against Putin. He surrounds himself with pawns who support his political game that is ultimately controlled by Vladimir Putin. Yet he cannot forget the woman he loved in his youth and he is haunted by his friend Ivan's death.
Irina is a thirty something American who is awaiting the onset of Huntington's disease which she inherited from her father. The Queen of the novel, she escapes to Russia after finding a letter her father wrote to Alexsandr. Irina is fighting a losing battle against a horrible illness and she is hoping Alexsandr can answer her father's question and thereby help her go on with her life. She does not know how to live a life that is doomed.
A Partial History of Lost Causes is one meaty, multi-layered story. The novel gives the reader a lot to learn and discuss. Alexsandr and Irina are both lost causes and the theme of the story runs throughout the book. Dubois's writing is beautiful and her descriptions are unique and imaginative.
Every once in a awhile a book comes along that takes place in a part of the world that is part of your own personal history. The history of the book covers an era or a time that you remember being a small part of. A Partial History of Lost Causes takes place in St Petersburg and Moscow, Russia from 1979 to 2008. I visited these cities in 1992, right after the fall of Communism and had an amazing, unforgettable experience. I was able to visit my memories through Aleksandr and Irina's stories.