Customer Reviews for

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    Irina Ellison has spent most of her life watching her father die

    Irina Ellison has spent most of her life watching her father die, standing by as Huntington's destroyed first his body, and then his mind. His demise is a map of what her own will be; her own diagnosis gives her the certainty that she will one day lose control of her body and mind as certainly as he did, though she can only guess when it will begin. First a twitch of an arm, then a loss of control, then a loss of memory, of self, of personality. Her entire life becomes a question she seems incapable of answering: how should she live, if she knows it is all for naught? "My major character flaw," she writes, "is an inability to invest in lost causes. When you are the lost cause, this makes for a lonely life."

    A Partial History of Lost Causes is a novel of love and loss, politics and games, strategies and defeats, and all of the little moments that make up a life before a life is swept away by a death. It is a reminder to appreciate what we have, to value what we've had, and to look forward to what is yet to come. It is the kind of novel you want to rush through, desperate to find out what happens, but also the kind you want to read carefully, to savor, to understand. It is also, incidentally, the best book I've read all year.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2012

    Interesting read

    This book was good in that it was so different from the usual plot of novels. I will not go into a summary of the story. Many others will do that for me. I am not a chess person. I never had any desire to learn the game, so I was a bit lost with the chess metaphors. I thought the parallel American storyline was interesting, but didn't feel it gel with the chess player's story. The author made a good attempt at bringing these two stories together, but it seemed like she was reaching a bit. I am a follower of Russian history, and felt this book gave me a good idea of the more current Russia. It left me with a sad, desolate feeling that the Russians have always struggled and will continue to forever. It seems they never get a break. The government is and always will be corrupt. So, for me, I liked the book more from the current political happenings in Russia than the chess storyline or even the American woman.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

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