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, mys...more
the fountain overflows
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time
You might p ...more
"I'm not very likable, am I?"
"You're likable enough."
"No, I mean, if I were the protagonist of a book or a movie, it would be hard to like me, to identify with me, right?"
"I would never read a book like that, Milo. I can't think of anyone who would. There's no reason for it."
...then you probably should make sure the reader isn't going to agree with you. And though this is a well-writt ...more
If the shrill bludgeoning of obvious targets that is this book's stock in trade is considered as genuine wit, then God help us all.
Personally, if there were an immediate moratorium on the publication of whining, self-pitying tirades by narcissistic, obnoxious, self-hating losers, I would not be particularly upset.
Milo’s last big “ask” was to Mr. Ramadathan who had mortgaged his electronics s ...more
Then I became exhausted. Sam Lipsyte is so freaking hilarious, too freaking hilarious, that I actually started to drown as I slogged through his super clever sentences and whack, sarcastic dialogue. I couldn't follow the thin plot (rea ...more
Horribly clichéd literary American novel: set in a university, failing main character, shrewish wife having an affair, precocious child who has no love for his own father, ruminations on college days, a sense of impotence, concerns about his virility.. ...more
Here are a few:
"I'd ask for American flags, stick them on upside down in protest against our nation's foreign and domestic policies."
This is probably only funny because I do the exact same thing, and ha ...more
I came to with Vargina leaning over me, her breasts brushing up against my chest.
"I'm sorry I undress you with my eyes," I said.
"It's okay, Milo. Just breathe."
"I do a lot worse with my eyes. Am I the only one?"
"Of course not, Milo. You just lack subtlety. But breathe now."
"Subtlety," I said.
"I never wanted to hurt anyone. I just wanted to slide my dick between your breasts."
"A Sabrett man," said Vargina.
"Breathe. You're okay, but ...more
Milo Burke, whose job is to get rich people to donate money to a third rate New York university, is fired and then temporarily "rehired" because of his long-ago college friendship with a megawealthy guy who's thinking of giving. It's "the ask" versus "the give", but of course never that simple.
Lipsyte is witheringly whipsmart and his lash cut ...more
Nevertheless, the general sense of it is clear. Milo Burke is a fund-raiser (one who gets "the ask"-money, favors, etc. from potential donors) who loses it with a donor and so loses his job. He drifts free-fall in an ironical haze alongside his 4 year old son Bernie and adulterous wife ...more
The story is based on the premise of a guy employed at a small college ...more
1) Do you typically enjoy books with completely unlikeable protagonists?
2) Do you find repeated, somewhat degrading sexual fantasies about co-workers/friends/strangers interesting?
3) Did you understand the point of this book?
4) Are you depressed?
This was also an experiment in reading using the iBooks app on my iPad. My observations:
- The iPad is just heavy enough that it's hard to read comfortably lying down.
- I felt a tingling in my left arm after holding the iPad for a while. I should exercise more.
- Adjusting the screen brightness is very handy
- A ...more
L/C Ratio: 65/35
(This means I estimate the author devoted 65% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 35% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)
30% - Collapse of American life
20% - Failing relationships
15% - Parenthood
15% - Comedy
10% - Office politics
10% - Visual arts
I can't remember ever being this frustrated with a novel. The opening chapters of The Ask had me laughing obnoxiously, as Lipstye introduces the character of Milo Burke with an a ...more
I feel like the satirist - the real satirist, the deep satirist - is that contrary frog that NOTICES the gradual rise in temperature, and CHOOSES still to stay in the pot. That's how Lipsyte strikes me, here - he is willing to sacrifice his own froggy ...more
Disappointing. Unfunny. Self-indulgent.
Archetypal middle age crisis story ["what does it all mean?" phase:] flourished with a tedious plot, irritating characters and an annoyingly clever attitude. For some reason I didn't find this as decadent as some say, then of course I couldn't possibly take it much seriously. And not as humorous as it is advertised: didn't laugh once. This is not satire. Look elsewhere.
A mildly satisfying collection of dialogues, which feature some interesting views ...more
A contemporary allegory of the absurdity of modern ideals and expectations.
Reminiscent of Bukowski- this is a grim story of ruination in every possible aspect of life: the marriage, the career, the friendships, even Milo's relationship with his mother is strained. Most importantly, is Milo's struggle with his identity as everything he valued in himself disappears.