The Ask A Novel (Paperback)
|Author: Sam Lipsyte|
|Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, university fundraiser Milo Burke is offered one last chance by his former employer: He must reel in a potential donor--a major ask--who turns out to be Milo''s sinister college classmate. And the give won''t come cheap.|
From the Publisher:
A New York Times Bestseller||A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice||Milo Burke—husband, father, development officer at a third-tier university—has just joined the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, Milo is relieved to get another chance from his former boss. All he has to do is reel in a potential donor who, mysteriously, has requested Milo’s involvement. Exploring such themes as 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 hilarious tour de force from a writer who has already shown that the deepest fictions are often the funniest.
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.