The Believer // The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

My review of Sam Lipsyte’s new novel is in the February 2010 issue of The Believer. It start like this:

Sam Lipsyte wants you to shit your pants. By that I mean parts of The Ask are so sphincter-looseningly funny that you will want to invest in some adult undergarments before reading it. As the author of several previous novels, including the Believer Book Award–winning Home Land, Lipsyte has cultivated a well-earned reputation as our preeminent chronicler of the absurd. There isn’t a funnier author working today. But what makes The Ask so incredible is that the delightfully nasty jokes, puns, and malapropisms—and they are delightfully nasty—serve the development of the characters and a plot that isn’t all that riotous. There’s a serious story here and this is a novel of real maturity, albeit one that routinely employs words like “dick-smacked” and “spidercunt.”