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Since You Ask


Since You Ask is about the origins of sexual compulsion, and one young woman’s attempts to be free.

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What people are saying…

Winner of the James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award

“Wareham’s simple, steady prose and aversion to glass-shattering drama elevate a potential cliche into unsettling intensity.”
Entertainment Weekly

“The truly important novel, as Tolstoi so passionately averred, is the adventure of a question; and the question, most often, is unhappiness. Ranging inward to a psyche’s unsettled relation to itself, and out into the wilderness of family and love, Louise Wareham’s Since You Ask is a sustained and sustaining adventure, passionate as Tolstoi would approve. Reading this novel, I saw the substance (and substances) of unhappiness transformed into something even brighter than courage. This is a splendid debut.”
—Donald Revell, author of Arcady

“Louise Wareham’s keyed-down style amplifies the threat in the sexual terrain her narrator travels. She conveys the disequilibrium a young woman sustains in a run of soul-honing liaisons. ‘He saw I had been through something. And it was something that would serve him’—that the young narrator sees this and LIKES this in a man is the kind of charged and startling observation that powers this striking novel.”
—Amy Hempel, author of Reasons to Live

“Louise Wareham evokes the mystery of sexual compulsion with stunning honesty and quiet compassion. She captures the wry and brilliant humor of Betsy Scott, her core of tensile courage, so that we can bear to witness her life, so that we can keep our faith as she enters chaos to seek redemption. In the fragments of a fractured life, in stark and radiant images, Louise Wareham recovers miraculous beauty, a fragile stained glass vision of one woman’s whole and luminous spirit.”
—Melanie Rae Thon, author of Sweet Hearts

“Louise Wareham’s debut novel is a work of staggering intensity, written in a deceptively straight-forward, no-nonsense prose, which belies the vast iceberg of unexplored pain that lurks just below its surface.”
Kaylie Jones, author of Speak Now and A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries


From a Connecticut sanitarium, 24-year-old Betsy Scott tells her doctor a story about the destructive secrets in an outwardly successful family. A series of affairs take her into increasingly dark situations, from private-school Manhattan, to the outskirts of Queens, the downtown loft of a broker, the suburban house of a doctor in Scarsdale. Since You Ask is about the origins of sexual compulsion, and one young woman’s attempts to be free.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Published: 5/1/04
  • IBSN: 9781888451634
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750946


LOUISE WAREHAM grew up in Manhattan and graduated from Columbia University. She has worked as a reporter in New York, Oxford, Mississippi, and New Zealand. Since You Ask was the winner of the James Jones Literary Society First Novel Award. Wareham lives in New York City.

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