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Extended Audio Sample Lightning Rods, by Helen DeWitt Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (629 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Helen DeWitt Narrator: Dushko Petrovich Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Joe fails to sell a single set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in six months. Then fails to sell a single Electrolux and must eat a hundred and twenty-six pieces of homemade pie, served up by his would-be customers who feel sorry for him. Holed up in his trailer, Joe finds an outlet for his frustrations in a series of ingenious sexual fantasies, and at last strikes gold. His brainstorm, Lightning Rods, Inc., will take Joe to the very top, and to the very heart of corporate insanity, with an outrageous solution to the spectre of sexual harassment in the modern office.

An uproarious, hard-boiled modern fable of corporate life, sex, and race in America, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods brims with the satiric energy of Nathanael West and the philosophic import of an Aristophanic comedy of ideas.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tightly disciplined and extremely funny satire on office politics, sexual politics, American politics, and the art of positive thinking.”


  • “A razor-sharp comic masterpiece.”

    Financial Times

  • “Dewitt maintains a strong, clear, narrative voice throughout, pitch-perfectly parodying management speak, corporate culture and self-help bibles.”


  • “An absurdist comedy of the American workplace and the indignities faced by employees in today’s turbo-capitalism, a quietly seething feminist critique of pornography and the commodification of women, and a category-defying fable about the meaninglessness of success.”


  • Selected for the December 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jill | 2/17/2014

    " Joe is a mediocre salesman, until he discovers that his odd sexual fantasy can be used in Corporate America to end sexual harassment, by making some women in the office lightning rods for sexual urges. Biting social commentary and humor are supposed to ensue. Not so much. This will not be progressing in my TMN Tournament of Books bracket. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alison | 2/14/2014

    " Three stars means I'm ambivalent about this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bria | 2/9/2014

    " If you're like me, then you hate the words that come out of other people's mouths. Why do they say the same bland, cliched phrase over and over again? But every excessively utilized combination of words had to have been cobbled together with intent at some point, and every cliche rests on some sort of actual reflection of the world. So if you were a really clever writer, you could find a way to write a book that was 81.7% bland cliches and thoughtless idiomatic ways of saying things, and yet imbue them with meaning every time. It's almost as if some people use words as mere tools to convey their thoughts and feelings, caring little about where those words came from. And so was recreated in me, thoughtless but good-hearted, the continual experience of our protagonist Joe, who is unbelievably clueless about other human beings, but goes through a continual discovery about them, always with the best of intentions. It's like an after-school special. About the benefits of anonymous sex. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Zach | 2/4/2014

    " May 2012-22 give us ten more novels by Helen DeWitt. One of the strangest novels I have read. "

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About the Author
Author Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt is a novelist. She is the author of the highly praised novels, The Last Samurai, Your Name Here, and Lightning Rods. She lives in Berlin.