All I Ask is a searing, darkly funny, and emotive debut novel from Canadian writer Eva Crocker. Crocker has received widespread acclaim and awards for her 2016 short story collection, Barrelling Forward, and her debut novel is an exceptional character study of young queer Canadians just trying to figure out how a person should be, in a way that feels a bit reminiscent of Sheila Heti’s auto fictional title.
All I Ask is set in Newfoundland, and it opens with a bizarre and tense interaction with the police banging on our protagonist, Stacey’s door, for a vague alleged digital crime. We then reckon with Stacey’s processing of this invasion of privacy. Stacey is in her late twenties and a theatre school graduate, struggling with job security and malaise, but luckily has a very charismatic and ragtag support network. This novel is really about art, identity, and relationships of all walks of life. Crocker weaves wry sociopolitical examinations of race, class, gender, and sexuality within her characters and their conflicts but it never feels contrived, I found it just rings true.
If you like reading novels that are character driven, have witty dialogue centring LGBTQ friendships and flings, and musings on our current world, you will love All I Ask. This would be a great read for fans of Sheila Heti, Sally Rooney, Megan Gail Coles, and the meandering, non-linear novel.
— Jackie M.