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Lightning Rodsby Helen DeWitt
Synopses & Reviews
“All I want is to be a success. That’s all I ask.” Joe fails to sell a single set of the Encyclopedia Britannica in six months. Then fails to sell a single Electrolux and must eat 126 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. Her wild yarn is second cousin to the spirit of Mel Brooks and the hilarious reality-blurring of Being John Malkovich. Dewitt continues to take the novel into new realms of storytelling — as the timeliness of Lightning Rods crosses over into timelessness.
"In Lightning Rods, the nonperil Helen DeWitt has written a hilarious and pretty near perfect novel about...well, about selling and sex and the sound of the stories we tell ourselves, and of the stories we tell ourselves about the stories we tell ourselves, and of the stories we sell to others to help them have another story to sell to themselves, and about...did I mention sex? Lightning Rods is a strange and ingenious and happy-about-the-state-literature-making book." Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"Helen DeWitt shocks the reader with her intelligence. Lightning Rods, an exploration of the collective Id, is as lucid, methodical, and elegantly argued as a mathematical proof. It is also unremittingly filthy. DeWitt begins with a premise and goes on to think everything thinkable about it. A weird, generous, hilarious marvel." Teju Cole, author of Open City
"Lightning Rods is one of the funniest, most unlikely, and most pleasurable novels I have ever read. If Henry Ford and Henry Miller got together to write a book, the result would be something like this." Sheila Heti, author of We Need a Horse
"Savagely funny and wilfully provocative, Lightning Rods sees Helen DeWitt lets her fearless imagination run riot. A satirist up there with Swift and Orwell." Anthony Holden, author of Big Deal
The long-awaited second novel by the author of “arguably the most exciting debut novel of the decade: The Last Samurai.” (Sam Anderson, New York).
About the Author
Helen DeWitt is the author of a "remarkable first novel" (Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Review of Books), The Last Samurai, which has been translated into twenty languages. She lives in Berlin.
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