A Hologram for the King

A Hologram for the King

A Novel

Book - 2012
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In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter's college tuition, and finally do something great. In this novel the author takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in the face of the global economy's gale-force winds. This novel is an evocation of our contemporary moment and how we got here.
Publisher: San Francisco :, McSweeney's Books,, [2012]
ISBN: 9781936365746
Branch Call Number: FIC EGGE
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 23 cm


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Mar 03, 2020

A Hologram for the King is a highly readable exploration of the human condition. This is a, idiomatically speaking, "big picture" novel in which Eggers effortlessly weaves together smaller, seemingly less significant, moments in order to create the mosaic of the life of an aging and cynical protagonist, Alan Clay. There are certainly a litany of philosophical schools of thought on capital L Life, but Eggers chooses to highlight the compilation of interstitial moments that happen between the milestones which we, as a collective society, deem as more important. What Eggers does so beautifully in this novel is explore the intersection between the large milestones (i.e. the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, professional success) with the tedium of day-to-day life (i.e. painstaking small talk, staring at the hands of a clock at work as one waits to clock out for the day). It is, however, the routine nature of day-to-day life, the constant reminder of how dull things can be, which allows us to revel in the more thrilling moments in order to savor the beauty of life and all of its intricacies. Eggers takes the audience on a journey through the desolation of not just the Middle Eastern desert where the story is set, but the desert, metaphorically speaking, of the mind of Alan Clay as he seeks to find purpose in his life. This is a heartfelt and profoundly moving novel that I couldn't put down.

multcolib_susannel Jun 13, 2016

Somewhere between middle -age and a caustic divorce Alan Clay is having an identity crisis- will he ever figure out who he is?

Dec 22, 2014

Dave Eggers is always highly readable, and rewards his readers with interesting settings, rich characterization, and generally compelling stories. The plot here is rather thin, and I suspect this would have worked better as a short story, or possibly a novella. A middle-aged salesman, on the brink of economic and personal failure, relies on an extremely tenuous business connection to try to land a contract with the Saudi Arabian king for an IT company--the maker of the holograms of the title. What ensues is largely theater of the absurd, with plenty of time for soul-searching and reflection. In the hands of a lesser writer, this would have been a difficult book to write. Eggers pulls it off, but just barely.

Jul 29, 2014

This is an entertaining and interesting novel set in the context of the American recession and decline of American manufacturing; as one character says, the US is now just tourism and shopping. The style of the writing - somewhat sparse and thin - reflects the middle-aged businessman's emptiness and loneliness. In one way, it is a "The Death of the Salesman" meets "Waiting for Godot" for the 21st century.

geezr_rdr Jul 10, 2014

Good choice for a summer read. Well written and interesting analysis of Saudi Arabia.

Dec 20, 2013

I thought the story started strong but by page 75 it started to bog down. I started losing empathy for the protagonist who is weak and a bit dim witted and eventually all interest in a story that is just plain dismal. This is not Dave Eggers best work; for that read The Circle.

Dec 05, 2013

My first Eggers book & the symbolism was much too heavy-handed for me. The American middle class is an impotent middle-aged guy waiting in a tent in a desert to sell a phantom product while worrying about selling his house & putting his kid through college. In places the writing sparkles, but I just didn't care about the protagonist nor understand why attractive women were throwing themselves at him.

Oct 22, 2013

This book scored incredibly low on not only goodreads.com, but also my libraries user-based rating system. Truly, I thought it was excellent. For the first hundred pages or so I thought it was annoying that the story was about a WASP man in Saudi Arabia who couldn't catch a break, but I realized quickly it was about globalization and capitalism, the downfalls of many nations. In short, I loved it.

Jun 03, 2013

Haven't finished it yet, but intriguing enough to keep the pages turning. All the middle-aged white guy ennui can get exhausting, but great setting and very well written.

pcbarone May 20, 2013

An satisfying novel following an affable middle aged entrepreneur quietly battling his constantly evolving world. In staying true to his convictions, he ultimately prevails in finding true purpose and contentment. Mr. Eggers presents an authentic and compelling view of the new global economy world.

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