Jennifer duBois
  • st.petersburg
  • laboca

Cartwheel - paperback


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Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books


a partial history of lost causes

Buy the Book
Barnes & Noble
Random House
Powell's Books

Jennifer duBois is available for call-ins for book club discussions. Email to schedule a call-in.

Praise for Cartwheel

Nominated for a New York Public Library Young Lions Award

Chosen for Target's Emerging Author program

Named a Best Book of the Year by Slate, Salon, Cosmopolitan, BookPage, Buzzfeed, and Guernica Magazine.

A Barnes & Noble Discover pick

“DuBois is a brilliant young writer with an ironic wit and mastery of the complexity of human character.” Sydney Morning Herald

“Utterly engrossing.” The Austin Review

"With Cartwheel, Ms. duBois makes herself heir to the great novelists of the past.” – The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Psychologically astute…dangerously funny…The writing in ‘Cartwheel’ is a pleasure: electric, fine-tuned, intelligent, conflicted.” – The New York Times

“A tabloid tragedy elevated to high art…A-.” Entertainment Weekly

“Provocative, meaningful, and suspenseful…[A] page-turner.” The Chicago Tribune

“A convincing, compelling tale.” The New York Daily News

“Sure-footed and psychologically calibrated.” Newsday

“From the first page, duBois’ intelligent, penetrating writing makes this sad story captivating.”Dallas Morning News

“An astonishing, breathtaking, and harrowing read.”New York Journal of Books


“Very, very compelling.” Bookreporter

“Masterful.” –

“Skillful…ambitious…an astute psychological study of character that rises to the level of philosophical, specifically existential.”Booklist Starred Review

"Intelligent, humane, unsentimental... Highly recommended." William Landay, author of the New York Times Bestseller Defending Jacob

“Jennifer duBois, a writer whose fierce intelligence is matched only by her deep humanity, hits us with a marvelous second novel that intertwines a gripping tale of murder abroad with an intimate story of family heartbreak. Every sentence crackles with wit and vision. Every page casts a spell.”
– Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

About the Book

Written with the riveting storytelling and moral seriousness of authors like Emma Donoghue, Adam Johnson, Ann Patchett, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Cartwheel is a suspenseful and haunting novel of an American foreign exchange student arrested for murder, and a father trying to hold his family together.
When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.
Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape—revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA—Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see—and to believe—in one another and ourselves.
Jennifer duBois’s debut novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and was honored by the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program. InCartwheel, duBois delivers a novel of propulsive psychological suspense and rare moral nuance. Who is Lily Hayes? What happened to her roommate? No two readers will agree. Cartwheel will keep you guessing until the final page, and its questions about how much we really know about ourselves will linger well beyond.

Praise for A Partial History of Lost Causes:

"…Precise and unsentimental…Spinning an ambitious plot, unpredictable but never improbable, [duBois] moves with a magician’s control between points of view, continents, histories, and sympathies."
The New Yorker


"[A] terrific debut."
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
"Hilarious and heartbreaking and a triumph of the imagination. Jennifer duBois is too young to be this talented.  I wish I were her."
Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Super Sad True Love Story

About the Book

In Jennifer duBois's mesmerizing and exquisitely rendered debut novel, a long-lost letter links two characters, each searching for meaning against long odds. 

In St. Petersburg, Russia, world chess champion Aleksandr Bezetov begins a quixotic quest. With his renowned Cold War–era tournaments behind him, Aleksandr has turned to politics, launching a doomed--and potentially lethal--dissident presidential campaign against Vladimir Putin.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, thirty-year-old English lecturer Irina Ellison is on an improbable quest of her own. Certain she has inherited Huntington's disease—the same illness that ended her father's life—she struggles with a sense of purpose. When Irina finds an old, photocopied letter her father had written to the young Aleksandr Bezetov—asking how one proceeds in a lost cause—she decides to travel to Russia to find Bezetov and get an answer for her father, and for herself.

Spanning two continents and thirty years, and with uncommon perception and wit, A Partial History of Lost Causes explores the possibilities of courage, the endurance of memory, and the stubbornness and splendor of human will.