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Lightning Rods | [Helen DeWitt]

Lightning Rods

"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 he fails to sell a single Electrolux and must eat hundreds of pieces of homemade pie, served up by his would-be customers who feel so sorry for him. Holed up in his trailer, Joe finds an outlet his for frustrations in a series of ingenious sexual fantasies, and at last strikes gold. His brain storm, Lightning Rods, Inc., will take Joe to the very top - and to the very heart of corporate insanity.
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Publisher's Summary

"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 he fails to sell a single Electrolux and must eat hundreds of pieces of homemade pie, served up by his would-be customers who feel so sorry for him. Holed up in his trailer, Joe finds an outlet his for frustrations in a series of ingenious sexual fantasies, and at last strikes gold. His brain storm, 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.

©2012 Helen DeWitt (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.0 (27 )
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Story
3.2 (24 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Josh Los Angeles, CA, United States 11-11-11
    Josh Los Angeles, CA, United States 11-11-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wild tale, enveloping reader"

    "Lightning rods" are women who have anonymous sex with men in their shared workplace, relieving the anxiety and tension that leads to sexual harassment lawsuits. Still on board? This is a deeply funny novel about salesmen and inventors, creativity and persuasion. Though it's nakedly perverse, it draws more from How to Win Friends and Influence People than The Story of O -- it's detailed but not exactly erotic. Our journey follows Joe, a sad-sack vacuum cleaner salesman who uses his idiosyncratic sexual fantasies to bootstrap his way to the top.

    The reader is excellent, with a rich and steady tone that keeps you in the story. Especially interesting, given the subject matter, that a man is reading a novel written by a woman, but Petrovich doesn't oversell the material, which is a risk with such explicit sexual themes. I listen to this in my car, and now I'm late for stuff all the time -- lots of "driveway moments." More by this reader, please.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Issaquah, WA, United States 12-27-11
    Bill Issaquah, WA, United States 12-27-11 Member Since 2009
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    "So great I had to write a review"
    Would you listen to Lightning Rods again? Why?

    Well, mainly I'm writing this review to convince people that they should listen to Lightning Rods the first time...but yes, I would listen to it again because it was excellent satire, the kind where listening to it the second time you are likely to pick up on subtle aspects you missed the first time.


    What other book might you compare Lightning Rods to and why?

    Catch-22 and most of the books by Christopher Buckley -- the former because the depth and subtlety of the satire and the latter because this made me laugh out loud.


    Which character – as performed by Dushko Petrovich – was your favorite?

    Both Joe, and the


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a masterpiece of satire -- better than anything that has come along since Catch-22. Buy it. Listen to it. This is the first time I've felt strongly enough about a book to take the time to write a review, and my first 5 star rating in 6+ years of listening to audio books (i.e. I'm not one of those annoying reviewers who rates everything 5 stars).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Shepherdstown, WV, United States 03-03-12
    Denise Shepherdstown, WV, United States 03-03-12 Member Since 2008
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    Story
    "Saleman Seeks Buyer For His Sexual Fantasy"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story of a frustrated salesman who fantasizes of having anonymous sex with women through a wall, yet yearning to see their unaffected faces. He manages to sell the idea to a business, calling the women 'lightning rods' in order to provide top salesmen relationship-free, faceless sex through the wall of a handicap bathroom stall in order to reward their success with sexual release. What could make this a 4 or 5-star listening experience? A better story and an interested narrator.


    What was most disappointing about Helen DeWitt’s story?

    Most disappointing is the entire premise of Helen DeWitt's story. She misses the mark by miles if she intended this as a satire.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narration is delivered in a monotone manner which not only helps illustrate the characters and storyline as flat and uninteresting, but also gives the listener the impression not even the narrator is interested in the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Lightning Rods?

    If I could play editor, I would not have wasted resources on recording this book when there are thousands of better stories that would be far more entertaining and better written. I would have also not hired the narrator, or at least given him intravenous espresso to make him sound awake.


    Any additional comments?

    Lightning Rods is not an enjoyable read. At best, it is not even a satire. Sophomoric storyline that could only appeal to immature college frats, and a narration that makes one question the selection process of book narrators, are the main reasons I would not recommend this book to anyone.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 02-03-12
    Dave SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 02-03-12 Member Since 2011

    drmccann88

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    "Very Enjoyable!"
    Where does Lightning Rods rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The story was fun and very entertaining. DeWeitt did a great job of making the absurd premise seem plausible and almost a good idea.


    What about Dushko Petrovich’s performance did you like?

    The performance was good. Petrovich has a bit of a Steven Wright quality that works very well with the story.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra St. Louis, MO, United States 12-31-11
    Sandra St. Louis, MO, United States 12-31-11 Member Since 2007
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    "Terrible... just terrible"

    I downloaded this book with an open mind, but was so bored by the main character and the plot that I couldn't keep listening. I put in a good 2 hours then tried to fast forward here and there hoping it would get better... it did not. It was just terrible... horrible...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rockie Mentone, AL, United States 12-12-11
    Rockie Mentone, AL, United States 12-12-11

    Alpaca farmer, gardener, poet. Loves reading & listening to books, music, writing, and learning. Life is good!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stopped at the first chapter"

    I don't know what possessed me to purchase this book. It is awful. It might be better with a more enthused narrator. I'll never know, since I quit listening before the first chapter was over. From now on I'll know to give the books a trial listen before I buy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike iowa 01-12-12
    Mike iowa 01-12-12 Member Since 2001

    M_iowa

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    "Terrible, especially the narration"
    This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I don't recommend this audiobook for anyone. The book itself might be better, but seemed purile to me. That may have been increased by the narrator, who has a terrible style. The problem may be that he seems tone deaf, since a section in the book required singing... and it was terribly off key.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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