Failure. There’s enough misery, failure and disappointment in the world to go around, so why read a comedic novel like Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask? Maybe it’s that delicate feeling of schadenfreude that brings readers looking for an escape from one’s own real world to the situation of someone in even worse shape. Protagonist Milo Burke is failing at work, marriage, parenting and friendship. A failed painter, he works in development for a low-tier university. A college friend, Purdy, becomes a prospect for a big donation, and Milo becomes the point person. Purdy asks Milo to do some other things for him, which adds to the humor in the novel. Each character in this novel will bring both humor and sadness to a reader. All the comedy is dark, and readers who enjoy that will find much to like on these pages.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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