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The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

The Ask (2010)

by Sam Lipsyte

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6613521,544 (3.35)10
Recently added byragbone, edmadrid, RSRwanda, wendyssubwaylibrary, private library, A-S, sarah4uk, jodi, haarpsichord
  1. 10
    Home Land by Sam Lipsyte (raistlinsshadow)
  2. 00
    Idiopathy by Sam Byers (hairball)
    hairball: The Ask does a similar subject far better than Idiopathy.

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English (34)  Italian (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
A lot of people complain that his characters aren't likable. I don't find that to be true. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
Two stars but more because it is not my thing. So maybe it is I that desrves the two stars and not the book. ( )
1 vote laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
"The Ask" is about a jaded development officer as a third-tier college who is invited to make an "ask" (i.e. solicit a large charitable contribution) from an old college friend who has since become quite wealthy. As it turns out, the friend has a big "ask" to make of the development officer, too.

Wasn't sure I'd like this book in the beginning, as the protagonist, in his unvarnished cynicism, seemed pretty hard to like. But as the story progressed, the reader is made more aware of the character's vulnerabilities, and sympathy builds.

There's some sharp, funny dialogue in the book--and that's really it's highlight. Especially hilarious are the jabs the college dean makes at a meeting of his development staff--it's sort of "Glengarry Glen Ross" married to Mel Brooks. (As someone who works in the development field, I especially related to it.)

Overall, I'd award the book 3.5 stars. ( )
  kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
I have been put off of most contemporary fiction because I felt most books were trying to be clever but were neither funny nor insightful. The Ask was both and more. This book is the best possible guilty pleasure. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
Hilarious. Loved all the stuff involving the narrator's young son and his preschool ( )
  AThurman | Dec 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
The gift is Sam Lipsyte's writing: a chewy, corrosive, and syntactically dazzling prose style that doesn't so much run across the page as pick it up and throttle it.
There's probably not a living American writer who has so comprehensively mined the comic possibilities of that particular anguished, hapless combination of the overeducated and the underachieving as Sam Lipsyte. Against all odds, his heroes refuse to succeed, and they and we are rewarded with the endlessly entertaining spectacle of their nonstop humiliation.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374298912, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2010: How can a life so miserable be so funny? Is it because the stakes are so low (Milo Burke, the antihero of Sam Lipsyte's novel, The Ask, is a failure at many things, but most prominently at his job of pulling in major donors for a deadwater arts program at a middling university neither you nor he care about), or because they are so high (among them death, love, and the general squandering of the glories of creation on trivia)? Lipsyte's brilliant bile earned his previous novel, Home Land, one of the most passionate cult followings in recent years, and in The Ask that verbal invention is often the only thing that can rouse Milo and his peers from their ennui. They bait and badger each other and toss off complex cultural analyses to little effect, all the while haunted by the gap between wit and wisdom. Lipsyte manages to be both sour and tender to his characters, Milo in particular, whose barest shambles toward self-respect come to seem like the first baby steps of an honorable quest. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After he loses his job as a development officer at a university, family man Milo Burke is given a chance to regain his position, but only if he can reel in a potential donor, one who has requested his involvement and turns out to be his sinister college classmate.… (more)

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