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Milo Burke, a development officer at a third-tier university, has ânot been developingâ: 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 donorâa major âaskââwho, mysteriously, has requested Miloâs involvement. But it turns out that the ask is Miloâs sinister college classmate Purdy Stuart. And the âgiveâ wonât come cheap. Probing many themesâ or, perhaps, anxietiesâincluding 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.