Customer Review

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Asking too much, 1 Jan 2011
This review is from: The Ask (Kindle Edition)
I read a review for The Ask in the Guardian, and immediately ordered it. It sounded fantastic. A funny diatribe against modern society. What could possibly go wrong? Well, almost everything.

The main character, Milo is a misogynistic loser, with no redeeming features. No charm. No wit. Nothing. The book deals with his attempts to repair his broken life. It's refreshing to read the thoughts of someone so unlikeable at first, but it soon becomes incredibly tiresome. Milo is just too much a **** to care about anything he does, or any of the meandering roads the plot takes us down.

But things like characters and plot and any kind of sense aren't the point, I suppose. It's all about the hip, stylish prose. Lipsyte is very much in love with his own writing, and I get the feeling he enjoys his own turn of phrase a lot more than the reader does. He's like a tedious Raymond Chandler, spinning out one-liners in an attempt to make you chuckle. But Lipsyte is no Chandler. Where Marlow's comments say a lot about his character, the little jokes here take the reader completely out of the story. They are the literary equivalent of a four year old jumping up and down and shouting for attention.

In the end, this book commits the worst sin a book can. It's dull. I didn't laugh, I didn't care and the supposedly brilliant observations on modern life (Rich people can be damaged! People do drugs! Sex happens! People live in smaller living spaces now!) were well worn and tired.

I really hated this book. So much so that it's not just made me suspicious of reading any books by Lipsyte again, but also made me wary of listening to any form literary review.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Jan 2011 21:14:23 GMT
Eyeh Asher says:
My feelings exactly!
You stole my thunder.

Went through the very same paces as you did, and was totally disappointed.
Actually, I was expecting something in between A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics) and Portnoy's Complaint... No way.
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