Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt - review by Simon Hammond

Simon Hammond

Workplace Solutions

Lightning Rods


And Other Stories 297pp £10

Helen DeWitt’s novel Lightning Rods is in one sense the classic story of a rags-to-riches fulfilment of the American Dream. Joe – surname-less, but he might as well be called Everyman, Schmoe or Sixpack – is a door-to-door salesman, that archetype of can-do Americana, who has a once-in-a-lifetime idea and makes his fortune.

This mythological entrepreneur success story is told in the striking style of an inspirational business book. It’s packed full of handy maxims: we are told that you have to give ‘101%, 25 hours a day, 366 days a year’ to a new job, that ‘it’s important to be able to

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