In his Observer review of The Ask by Sam Lipsyte today, Geoff Dyer says that “the comparison that demands to be made is with Martin Amis’s Money: there’s a similar intensity and voltage to the language, the same vaulting confidence in the ability of the pyrotechnic monologue to fix a historical moment.”
A week ago I would have shrugged and just assumed Dyer knew what he was talking about and moved on to the next sentence; now, however, I happen to have just read Money so I know he’s right! Perhaps you should also read Money; only read it if you like excruciatingly hilarious novels that give you new ideas about what novels can be and do, though. Otherwise avoid it.
I’m sad I’d never read this book before. It’s depressing to think of all the great books out there that I still haven’t read. This type of problem is addressed, somewhat, by the exhausting, horrible, wonderful narrator of Money:
“Oh Christ, the exhaustion of not knowing anything. It’s so tiring and hard on the nerves. It really takes it out of you, not knowing anything. You’re given comedy and miss all the jokes. Every hour you get weaker. Sometimes, as I sit alone in my flat in London and stare at the window, I think how dismal it is, how heavy, to watch the rain and not know why it falls.”
(Also if you somehow missed the epic Lipsyte/Morris/Momofuku episode of Cooking the Books it is here.)