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The Ask (Hardcover)

Author:  Sam Lipsyte
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Learn more about The Ask:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0374298912
ISBN-13: 9780374298913
Sku: 211579169
Publish Date: 3/2/2010
Pages:  296
See more in Literary
 
America, said Horace, the office temp, was a run-down and demented pimp. (from the first line)
After he loses his job as a development officer at a university, family man Milo Burke is given a chance to regain his permission, 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. By the author of Home Land. *Author: Lipsyte, Sam *Publication Date: 2010/03/02 *Number of Pages: 296 *Binding Type: Hardcover *Language: English *Depth: 1.00 *Width: 5.75 *Height: 8.25
From the Publisher:
After he loses his job as a development officer at a university, family man Milo Burke is given a chance to regain his permission, 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. By the author of Home Land.
Annotation:
The consistently hilarious Sam Lipsyte expands the parameters of his humorous portraits of pathos, as he uses the trials of a sporadically employed flunkee named Milo Burke to evoke the sorry status quo of contemporary America. Burke once dreamed of artistic achievement, but he never did anything about it, which explains why he is trapped in a dull marriage and a low-level position soliciting funds for a local college. When he is threatened with the loss of these meager anchors of his existence, Burke resorts to chasing after an old schoolmate named Purdy Stuart in the hopes of a job-saving donation, but it turns out that Stuart, a legless veteran of the Iraq War, plans to use Burke as a pawn to enact his own brand of virulence on the world. Lipsyte masterfully milks a series of societal taboos for laughter and insight, as he sardonically dismantles humanity's most treasured façades, including marriage, parenthood, career, class, education, sex, and patriotism. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010.

Praise

"The author's most ambitious work yet--a brilliant and scabrously entertaining rift on contemporary America....Once again, Lipsyte creates main character whose lacerating, hyper-eloquent wit is directed both outward at the world...and inward...As it goes on one can't help noticing, beneath the fevered playfulness, a deeply earnest moral vision akin to that of Joseph Heller or Stanley Elkin." (starred review) 11/01/2009

"[THE ASK] takes its tone of lucid lament to the devastated white-collar sector; in its merciless assault on the duel between privilege and expectation, it arrives at a rare articulation of empire in decline." (starred review) 09/28/2009

"Lipsyte's third novel, a darkly humorous story of sons and fathers, is both his most realistic and convulsively hilarious to date....Seriously funny, Lipsyte sits alongside such illustrious Daves as Gates, Eggers, and Foster Wallace on the self-conscious shelf, but with a heartfelt brilliance all his own." (starred review) - David Wright 12/01/2009

"Lipsyte's sentences...exhilarate by providing a sense of just what's possible when it comes to unbridled thought, 'unbridled' meaning not only startlingly associative but transgressive as well....There's a surreal giddiness to the resourcefulness of the perversity here, in the face of failure's crushing banality, as if all the mastery unmanageable in life is on display in this secret life: these utterly performative messages in a bottle to the reader." - Jim Shepard 02/01/2010

"[Lipsyte's] characters are intelligent, even hyperintelligent...but finally their weakness is near-infinite. And that's why this book is a success: not only the belly laughs but also the sadness attendant upon the cultural failure it describes. There's a genuine disappointment visible through the cynic's jibes--the grief that comes with the end of empire and the collapse of an ideal." - Lydia Millet 03/07/2010

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0296
Product attributePublisher:   Farrar Straus Giroux
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