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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Ask

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The Ask Cover

ISBN13: 9780374298913
ISBN10: 0374298912
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Margaret Shindler, October 5, 2011 (view all comments by Margaret Shindler)
Lipsyte's characters in "The Ask" speak to one another in an up-to-the-minute style of quips. If you read the internet news, are in your 30's or 40's and don't think most literature reflects reality, read this. The narrator,Milo Burke is the most self deprecating protagonist I can recall. He will leave you un-angry, ready to stop and breath into the present,and permission to laugh at the people who think they are better than you because of money. With unique humor, and right on ironies, I can see why this is on the Powells promising writers list.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
eoinsh, January 7, 2011 (view all comments by eoinsh)
The Ask is Lipsyte's best so far, no small achievement given the quality of his other books. He seems incapable of writing a dull sentence.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
eoinsh, January 7, 2011 (view all comments by eoinsh)
The Ask is Lipsyte's best so far, no small achievement given the quality of his other books. He seems incapable of writing a dull sentence.
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(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
MitchW, January 5, 2011 (view all comments by MitchW)
It's rare to find a novel that makes you burst out laughing--and I mean real guffaws, not smiling to yourself, "oh-that's-humorous" type chuckles--yet also fills you with a sense of deep sadness for the main character and the times he lives in, which we all share.

Milo is our hero and narrator, a sad-sack of a man who knows all too well that he is losing everything--his job, his wife, possibly even the love of his precocious 9-year old son Bernie. But what keeps Milo (and "The Ask") from descending into despair is a heightened sense of the absurd that accompanies his daily trials and setbacks. We laugh because he stoicly endures the contempt of people he knows are his intellectual inferiors--people who succeed because they have no shame of the indignities they're willing to heap on themselves (or others) to get ahead.

"The Ask" reveals a present-day America stripped of its honor and status, a kind of enormous reality show (and indeed the concept of a new reality show in which the country's top chefs compete to make last meals for death row prisoners hits home as at once bizarre and not at all hard to imagine popping up on a cable channel any day now).

Lipsyte lets Milo guide us through a land where a good but flawed man is given one last chance to save a job he doesn't even want, but desperately needs. And so we find ourselves rooting for Milo as he negotiates a sea of posers, hacks, and inflated modern-day egoists in order to land one last "Ask"--getting an old college friend turned Internet billionaire to sign off on a large donation to a second-rate liberal arts college in New York.

Will Milo succeed? What will be the cost to his own sense of pride and dignity if he does?

Finding out is a heartbreaking joyride that will leave you at times outraged, at others doubled over with laughter, and ultimately thrilled to have been in the hands of a master storyteller who isn't afraid of revealing hurtful truths with compassion, humor, and sincerity.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Robin Aronson, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Robin Aronson)
Fantastic language, emotionally compelling characters, hilarious twists, a terrific book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780374298913
Author:
Lipsyte, Sam
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
Satire
Subject:
College administrators
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
7 CDs, 8 hours
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.55 x 6.46 x 1.03 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Ask Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374298913 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Ask takes an unassuming (and seemingly unfunny) premise about a dude who wrangles large financial donations for a school and turns it into an outright laugh riot. Not only is this just as funny as his amazing Home Land, but it also showcases Lipsyte's amped-up ability to deliver killer sentence after killer sentence. This might turn out to be my favorite book of 2010. Yeah, I'm already saying it.

"Review" by , "Lipsyte is a comedian with a rant for every facet of city life."
"Review" by , "The author's most ambitious work yet — a brilliant and scabrously entertaining riff on contemporary America."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , Grasping after odd jobs to support his wife and child, university fundraiser Milo Burke is offered one last chance by his former employer: but 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
Probing themes from work, war, and sex to child rearing and the eroticization of chicken wire, The Ask is a perfect blend of provocative and funny.
"Synopsis" by ,
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 Milos involvement. But it turns out that the ask is Milos sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the “give” wont 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, The Ask is a burst of genius by a young American master who has already demonstrated that the truly provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones.
"Synopsis" by ,

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 Milos 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.

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