This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Ask by Sam Lipsyte (DNF)

This is a DNF (did not finish) review, so take it for what it's worth.

I have no idea how I ended up having this on my list but it was. As I looked for reviews AFTER I decided not to read it, it looks like the critics tend to like it but the actual readers of it are closer to the negative end...based on Amazon and Goodreads ratings being around three stars.

I had a hard time trying to figure out the setting. Was it this century? The main protagonist is Milo Burke, a has-been, who reflects on his younger days - an artist who had ideological views of the world.

He is a development officer at Mediocre University. I assume that is what he calls it in his head but I don't have enough of his satire brain to know this for a fact. I don't even know what a development officer is, which is why I couldn't tell if this was a future setting, a fantasy setting, or something for real.

His job is to get donations from The Ask. Again, WTF? The "ask"? I've never fucking heard of this. But in my interpretation of it, it's basically seeking out donations from wealthy, powerful people, to help fund the arts department of Mediocre University.

Milo is fired, however. And he spends several weeks (?) not even bothering to find another job. He has a wife and son - another troubling and depressive relationship. Does Maura, his wife, love him? Or is she disgruntled with him as much as he is with himself.

The university calls Milo back, however, to do one big "ask". Milo has been personally requested by a more-than-wealthy old college friend, who 'asks' him to work out a plan for the college, but later, the true 'ask' is to help deal with his illegitimate son from a college fling. The son is a gulf vet, with no legs, who is blackmailing his dad for money.

Ugh. Does this sound good to anyone? How the hell did I add this to my list? BLEH!

The prose is a bit much. A lot of big, not-everyday-used words makes the novel, Milo, the other characters in it, and especially the author, a bit pedantic. A turn off but I struggled through HALF the book. But as I have vowed several years ago, there are too many other books to read to waste my time on something that has zero appeal to me.

I cared not one iota for any of the characters, to care about what happens in the end. I tried to find something outlining the entire story, just so I could figure out what the hell it was about. But it hasn't yet made a wikipedia page.

But, if you like critically acclaimed novels that somehow make critics think it's supposed to be that good? Have at it...

No comments:

Post a Comment