The Ask: A Novel

The Ask: A Novel

by Sam Lipsyte
3.3 35

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Overview

The Ask: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte

A searing, beautiful, and deeply comic novel by a young American master

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, Sam Lipsyte's The Ask is a burst of genius by an author who has already demonstrated that the truly provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones.

A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429931724
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 267 KB

About the Author

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.


Sam Lipsyte was born in 1968. He is the author of the story collections Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and The Fun Parts and three novels: The Ask, 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.

Customer Reviews

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The Ask 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
LawyerMom58 More than 1 year ago
Funny at first, but that stops and the protagonist becomes just plain annoying. Not a likeable character in the book.
lindianajones More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you read a book that got good reviews up the wazoo and you ask yourself why. This is one of those books. Certainly it is an entertaining tale and the author is talented. But this novel is overwritten. Some of it is downright difficult to understand. Quite a few times while reading it I had to go back and reread certain sentences that looped back around each other making you wonder in the end what was the subject and what was the predicate. But after I gave up trying to decipher the writer's personal code, I did manage to finish the book. I was not amused.
RBHolb More than 1 year ago
I don't see what all the fuss was about.  The book has unlikable characters acting out a predictable plot while mouthing banalities.  If the plot really is "secondary to the writing," then the book is just another writer's workshop exercise.
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chetplease More than 1 year ago
Excellent prose. A great story. Highly recommend. This sold me on lipsyte, i will definitely check out his other works.
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unkabin More than 1 year ago
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finishworksbeforeyouwhine More than 1 year ago
Yah+wow
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JenRickmann More than 1 year ago
If you love the clever, complex writing style found in books from other literary periods, you will enjoy this novel as I did. (Ironically, the book is full of 2010 pop culture references that will likely keep it from being understood into future decades.) I very much enjoyed the unconventional story, giving readers a glimpse into the perhaps never before fictionalized world of higher education fundraising (albeit far from reality). I found this to be one of those books that keeps you reading until you finish. The only reason "The Ask" didn't get five stars from me is its heavy use of profanity. In spite of its relevancy in character development, it's still a turn-off for me personally. Great book regardless!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tommysalami More than 1 year ago
If you get past the first three pages without laughing, this may not be for you. I loved it. The most cynical and brutally funny look at life for the Gen X now 40 crowd I've read. It was described to me as an update to the classic A Confederacy of Dunces, and lived up to those strong words, for me.
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