Lightning Rods

Helen DeWitt

Lightning Rods is the story of Joe, a salesman whose masturbatory fantasies lead him to create an invention that decreases sexual harassment in offices in an very unusual way. No one writes novels like this anymore, so it can be hard at first to figure out how to read this one. It’s satirical, and it is funny, but its humor is so bleak and black-hearted and even cruel that the reader feels a little guilty whenever she laughs.The combination of far-fetched events and eerily realistic sales doublespeak is jarring — which might be the point? Sooner or later, you may suspect that what you’re reading is less a Horatio Alger story of corporate success than it is a surgically precise and sterile analysis of what happens when we stop expecting words to correspond with meaning at all.

About the Author

Helen DeWitt


Helen Dewitt is also the author of Lightning Rods, The Last Samurai, Your Name Here, and a blog, paperpools.

"One of the things that’s perennially fascinating about the world is the way people sell things to themselves. If people feel the need to sell something to themselves, that tells its own tale."

-Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods