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5.29.11
This is an Archival Site
There is now a new Rogovoy Report home



5.18.11
Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller



5.18.11
Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever



5.17.11
FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.17.11
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5.12.11
Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21



5.15.11
Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm



5.12.11
Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF



5.11.11
Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend



6.4.09
Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....



5.8.11
Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak



5.8.11
twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.8.11
[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy



5.7.11
[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy





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BOOK REVIEW: The Ask by Sam Lipsyte

4.16.10



The Ask
by Sam Lipsyte
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review by Seth Rogovoy


When was the last time you read an American novel narrated by a perfectly calibrated, put-upon American everyman who was wholly unlikable but hysterically and mischievously funny, the tool of an author who found the perfect narrative setting -- in this case, a college development office -- from which to skewer and satirize the entirety of American culture?

Sam Lipsyteís The Ask put me in mind of nothing less than Joseph Hellerís two great works of literary and cultural satire, Catch-22 and Something Happened. In The Ask, everything and everyone is evil and stupid in the most banal of ways -- simply because the culture calls upon everyone to act contrary to the way they know things should be. Itís not only that politically correctness has run amok; itís that social relationships, even down to the nuclear family, have been shattered and atomized and digitized and because everything has been blown up into hyper-reality when thereís no core reality.

The Ask tells an utterly ridiculous story featuring ridiculous people who are all the object of ridicule at their own hands and at the hands of their creator, Lipsyte. That the story is so real, and that you canít put it down, makes it all the more urgent and of our time. I canít think of another novel that so captures this cultural, economic, social, and political moment in America than Sam Lipsyteís The Ask.

Isnít this what we want from our art, our literature?



Seth Rogovoy is Berkshire Living's award-winning editor-in-chief and cultural critic.





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