Having read his hilarious HOMELAND, I was intrigued to hear Lipsyte perform his new book, THE ASK. Here is a writer extremely attentive to language: he builds tremendous humor out of his discoveries of eccentric phrases, institutional jargon, ad-speak, and, well, the strange agency of the language governing our lives to breed creatures apart from those species concerned with communication, transparency, and honesty. He isn't precious with the stuff -- he is extremely ruthless with his observations of spoken language and the dead phrases we inflict on one another. Hearing his reading of THE ASK was not only the chance for me to catch a strong reader (you can tell Lipsyte enjoys reading, must really kill on the bookstore appearance circuit) but also was the opportunity for me to catch a secondary layer of meaning, built up through the nuance of highly intentional delivery and phrasing. It is gallows humor on the page -- but somehow with the author teasing you carefully through it, the audiobook deepens as both "dark" and "comedy."
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