Jennifer DuBois's new novel asks the central question, How do you keep going when you know things are going to end badly? The book is A Partial History of Lost Causes (Random House, 2012).
Its protagonist, Irina, expects to die young from Huntington's Disease, the same malady that claimed her father's life at a young age. After finding a letter her father once wrote looking for answers from a Russian chess prodigy, Irina goes in search of the chess player, who has become a maverick presidential candidate waging his own lost cause. They meet in Russia, and it turns out the two are seeking answers to some similar quandaries.
DuBois is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, and currently teaches writing at Stanford University. She spoke with Mitch Teich.