David Smith's Reviews > The Ask

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte
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's review
Aug 23, 2011

really liked it

The rants are far more biting and thrilling in Homeland, but this story is way better. The characters are deeper, and more depressing. It was hard to put down.

It's when they stop trying to destroy you, my mother once said, is when you should start to worry.

I lost out to kids who lived on hummus and misapprehension of history, and bight newbies bosses exploit without compunction because these youngsters are, in fact, undercover aristocrats mingling with the peasantry, each stint entered on their resumes another line in the long pom of their riskless youth.

How the immigrants are good hardworking people, except for the lazy border-violating ones, except that it was their land to begin with and they work even harder than the hardworking ones. That kind of stuff.

The flipside to the fickleness of children was their ability to transcend grudges, adjust to new conditions. Innocence, cruelty, rubbery limbs, amnesia, successful nations were erected on these qualities.

Did his cartoons feature an oafish, middle-aged disappointment who'd watched his young colleague fornicate in a chicken-wire cage and now just wished more than anything his wife could love him again, because that was the gruesome truth about betrayal, it was the cheater who had to be coddled, groveled to, convinced?

"We are going to eat ice cream and we are going to eat shit. The tick is to use different spoons."

Home could be a ruined place, joyless, shaped with the ashes of scorched hearts, but come evening everybody hustled to get there.
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