Saturday, June 15, 2013
This month we are reading A Partial History of Lost Causes, Jennifer duBois' debut novel which links the story of a young woman diagnosed with Huntington's disease and a Russian chess champion turned politician. You can learn more about this young author, a 5 under 35 honoree, at her website. You'll find links to several interviews there, but I found the best supplement to my reading of this book was a series of articles duBois wrote for Powell's which deal with matters related to chess, gender, disease and Russian politics. At Bookish Habits, duBois explains her choice of differing perspectives for the two interwoven stories that form the narrative, and comments on Pussy Riot and her desire to trade places with Hilary Clinton. At Critics and Writers she discusses the research she did for the book, including watching chess games on YouTube and reading Rights Readers fave, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. At Numero Cinq, she talks about taking on Putin and the similarities between writing and chess.
For fun, check out DuBois' book recommendations here and here, a playlist to match the novel here, and she has fun casting a hypothetical movie version of the book here.
Finally, because the book's chessmaster turned dissident character is inspired by the very charismatic Garry Kasparov, here he is speaking to the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2010. Or, take a look at this 2007 Al Jazeera documentary (Pt 1, Pt 2) about Kasparov's turn to politics complete with his homage to Politkovskaya.