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The Ask

The Ask

Hardback

By (author) Sam Lipsyte

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  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 211mm x 25mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 2 March 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0374298912
  • ISBN 13: 9780374298913
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 174,925

Product description

Milo Burke, a development officer at a third-tier university, has not been developing: after a run-in with a well-connected undergrad, he finds himself among the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, Milo is offered one last chance by his former employer: he must reel in a potential donor--a major ask--who, mysteriously, has requested Milo's involvement. But it turns out that the ask is Milo's sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the give won't come cheap. Probing many themes-- or, perhaps, anxieties--including work, war, sex, class, child rearing, romantic comedies, Benjamin Franklin, cooking shows on death row, and the eroticization of chicken wire, The Ask is a burst of genius by a young American master who has already demonstrated that the truly provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones.

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Author information

Sam Lipsyte was born in 1968. He is the author of the story collection "Venus Drive" (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and the novels "The Subject Steve" and "Home Land," which was a "New York Times" Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.

Review quote

Praise for "The Ask "" ""If you've heard anything about Sam Lipsyte, you've probably heard that he's funny. Scabrously, deliriously, piss-yourself funny (his characters would no doubt find a dirtier, and funnier, way of putting it), drawing audible snorts even from the kind of people, such as the people in his novels, who are way too cool to laugh out loud . . . Lipsyte's prose arrows fly with gloriously weird spin, tracing punch-drunk curlicues before hitting their marks--or landing in some weird alternate." --Jennifer Schuessler, "The New York Review of Books ""Lipsyte shakes his comic cocktail of sarcasm and bitter impotence to eloquent effect briefcases on wheels are "luggage for people not going anywhere," and a Manhattan salad bar consists of "go-goo for the regular folk, these lumpy lumpen lunches." Milo is repulsive, hilarious, and devastatingly self-aware, but it is his country that is Lipsyte's real subject." --"The New Yorker ""So let's read Lipsyte and rejoice; let's celebrate the laugh-producing Milo Burkes who are all too rarely brought to us by brave and bitter men--let's celebrate the canny, well-educated yet perpetually failing furtive Internet onanists, the dark, half-crippled, doughnut-gobbling man-apes of the literary world, who cast their lumpen shadows across the rest of us. These are the kind of unlikeable, lovable protagonists we miss; these are the self-loathing, mediocre secret geniuses who can set our people free." --Lydia Millet, "The New York Times Book Review ""["The Ask"] is a biting, bilious and often brilliant book . . . It started, for me, as a comic, bad-boy outing on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It concludes somewhere much darker and richer than a theme park. 'Heavens to Betsy, ' I murmured when I finished. 'What a book.'" --Karen Long, "The Plain Dealer ""Lipsyte's brand of absurdity is deeply rooted in the now. The recession, text messaging, reality TV"--"all are up for grabs. What's particularly ef