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,
mysteriously, has requested Milo’s involvement. But it turns out that the ask
is Milo’s sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the “give” won’t come
Probing many themes—or, perhaps, anxieties—including work, war, sex,
class, child rearing, romantic comedies, Benjamin Franklin, cooking shows on
death row, and the eroticization of chicken wire, The Ask is a burst of
genius by a young American master who has already demonstrated that the truly
provocative and important fictions are often the funniest ones.
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