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The Ask (2010)
by Sam Lipsyte
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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 Fri, 04 Jan 2013 15:58:13 -0500)
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.
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