Read A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers Online


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 A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in theIn 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 A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers 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 taut, richly layered, and elegiac novel is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment — and a moving story of how we got here....

Title : A Hologram for the King
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781936365746
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 312 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Hologram for the King Reviews

  • Kim G
    2019-04-21 20:32

    BLAH. I'm going to need the publishing industry to start putting on warning labels for Modern American Middle-Aged Upper-Middle-Class White Male Pathetic Protagonists, because I am all done with them. No more crazy bitch ex-wives, no more weird medical issues that strike at their sense of mortality, no more managing to bang (poorly) hotter younger ladies (who are also, of course, crazy) even during their downward spiral, no more disconnect with their flighty and disappointed children, no more random heavy drinking or drug experimentation (often with their random younger fun friend they just picked up along the way), no more insane money schemes (that they mostly ignore for adventure, even though their livelihoods depend on them) to save them from foreclosure/bankruptcy/yadda yadda, no more young corporate upstarts tweeting away and rolling their eyes at the old guy, no more surreal and emasculating moments when they are humiliated by a bunch of younger (and almost always POC) men, no more crying that Corporate America doesn't love me anymore, no more nice guy complex at all, just no more. I am alllll done for right now, thanks.

  • Lee
    2019-04-14 22:35

    A perfectly enjoyable, effortlessly proceeding, airily formatted, short novel. It's not really 312 pages, more like 250 with lots of extraneous white space between frequently occurring sections. A tone so accessible it almost seemed like a YA version of some classic salesmanzy novel teleported to 2010 Saudi Arabia. Loved the inclusion of nonfictional bits like about Schwinn's fall and the blast-resistant glass for the Freedom Tower made in China. Loved the snorkeling frolic and didn't really mind the end (won't give away whether the King comes or not). Loved the attempt to dramatize the moral complexities related to the current reality of international commerce. Loved the sad little story about the wall the main guy built in his hometown. Generally though Adam Clay felt fictional to me -- his issues felt like a limited number of balls tossed in the air and juggled but they never really transformed into birds of paradise and prey. I therefore had some trouble believing he wasn't something of a fictional holograph himself, which may have been totally intentional of course? The other characters, particularly the other Americans, suffered from Disembodied Proper Noun Syndrome -- that is, their only physical presence in the novel's world was their name. Overall, it's a beautiful product proudly made in the USA -- in the acknowledgements, every single person who works at the Michigan-based printer is listed -- but I sort of felt like its innards were overcrafted for me, too careful, restricted, self-consciously mature, maybe too off-handedly newsy (a single mention of the concurrent BP spill), luminous thanks to spacious formatting more than the brilliance of its bright-shining horizon (by which I mean: its distant ideal narrative destination, beyond the shimmering desert or the expected eventual arrival of the King). I liked a lot of it a lot and enjoyed reading it most of the time -- and of course I've seen people put out of work by outsourcing and fear at any minute I could be next! -- but I prefer the similarly toned, wrenchingly readable Zeitoun. As with the recent non-fiction "novels," there's something to this that feels like he's doing a good deed maybe? And maybe something apparently philanthropically/generously motivated doesn't distribute throughout the prose and subsequently the reader's guts the same sort of viral barbaric yawp as something apparently born of aesthetic self-indulgence, obsession, greed? I've followed this author for years now but would love for him to take off the gloves and claw the world's eyes out. Or at least revisit the kingdom of smart funny inventive metafictional maximalism now that he's older. I'd love to read an evil Eggers, essentially -- more expressive, adventuresome, unconventional, improvisational, indulgent; less intentionally artistically inclusive -- but maybe that's logistically impossible at this point? Anyway, a beautiful hard cover and an ultimately memorable story.

  • Megan
    2019-04-03 16:31

    This is what I imagine Dave Eggers’ thought process was like in composing Hologram:“I want to write another novel. Haven’t done that in a little while.But I want it to be socially relevant, a commentary like Zeitoun.But it would be so obvious if my protagonist were another clear victim of global catastrophe, like Zeitoun or What is the What.I know! I’ll make him seem like one of globalization’s possible bad guys – an American businessman who’s helped bring the catastrophe on himself! Except he still gets to sit in expensive air-conditioned hotel rooms. But then I’ll weave in brief scenes – groups of poorly paid immigrant workers packed into poor living conditions – to highlight the greater economic plight of the world.”Eggers’ moves to be ‘not obvious’ seem to me exactly what makes so much of this particular piece, well, obvious. Eventually, there was just nothing surprising to me about the book. I read the first half with high expectations, definitely enjoying it – because yes, it’s a well-written novel, sentence by sentence, it’s true; and yes, I think many who were not fans of Heartbreaking will enjoy this instead – but still, I wanted more of a punch, more of the emotional wave that I think he excels at creating. Of course, I think many will say that is precisely the book’s strength: it manages to pull you along despite its complete calm, and the fact that it is essentially a story about waiting. But for all those critics who are already flowing with praise about its capturing ‘a moment of history,’ its status as a ‘socially revealing emotional tale’ or some such bit, I want to ask: what about this story don’t we already know? Because what Hologram gives us is the story of a man who created the very economic conditions that are now undoing him, but whose concern is mostly for its effects on his personal and family life, who is turning his attention again to another money-making venture, while keeping himself at arms-length from that venture’s possible consequences for others. This is the story of a great many American businessmen, of the complete nearsightedness of our financial endeavors, and we should know it already. If we don’t: well, then Eggers’ newest work definitely has a job to do, and I wish it well.

  • Elyse
    2019-04-17 15:23

    Update: This is an old review ... almost 4 years old. If you haven't read this book ... ( it's a quick read...enjoyable)..,You might consider it ... before seeing the movie which is being released in weeks ahead. Tom Hanks.. (we went to the same High School), is playing the lead in this film - adapted from Dave Eggers book! Dave Eggers seems to have an excellent understanding of the many problems we face in today's world. Yet, instead of forcing facts down our throats -- he creates a story-line (the context), in which we can discover and explore our own feelings. (even formulate possible global and personal solutions). Its one BOLD-UNIQUE-BOOK. (I would love to join a group discussion with this book). Many interesting topics to expand on from this story. ---It hits hard on three levels: (head, heart, and gut). A side note: I've admired Dave Eggers for years. (I live in the Bay Area), yet I've never met him. I'm just a 60 year old fart---happily married for 33 years --- but I've got a little crush on the guy...AND his wife). I adore who these people are in the world --I thank them both Dave & his wife (deeply from my heart), for being 'amazing' human beings! Their work touches many!

  • Dan
    2019-03-31 23:21

    UPDATE 10/10/12: NBA finalist?! Give me a break. ---------Hey, Dave Eggers has a new book out and it looks wonderful.-What's it about?-Who cares, it's a lovely book to hold.And that's probably the most exceptional thing about the novel. McSweeney's has continued to impress me with the effort and care that they put into the packaging and physicalness of their books. Maybe the publishing industry should take note of what they're doing and start copying it. Now for the story: A mid-fifties businessman struggling both in work and in life goes to Saudi Arabia for the chance to breath some life into his career and more importantly to improve his financial standing. But of course there's much more to it and the chance for his life to be turned around in a more meaningful way. Ultimately the story was unsatisfying because it wraps up in the blink of an eye. Ending it in that indie-film sort of way to keep you wondering what happens next may have been the goal. But it doesn't pull it off very effectively and just left me sort of annoyed. To be fair, the book was a lovely, easy read with the decent writing many expect from Eggers until page 309. It also offered an interesting glimpse into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that I hadn't before seen. So for these reasons, and the handsomeness of the book, my rating is somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.

  • Charlie Quimby
    2019-04-06 23:07

    Back in the early '70s a co-worker of mine shipped off to Saudi Arabia to take a job as a construction project manager for the giant company building King Khalid Military City. John was supporting three ex-wives, and he decided making triple his U.S. salary, with no way to spend it and living beyond reach of the telephone, was preferable to his current state. A year or so later, he returned for a visit and dropped by the office. He showed us pictures of his home in a remote part of the Saudi desert, a sort of cross between an Airstream trailer and a row house of portable toilets, plus his duty station. The view from his porthole was breathtaking, but not in a good way. You could see the curvature of the earth, and everything between you and it was drab, sandy hard pan.Finally, one guy asked the only possible question about the only feature in the barren landscape, "How big is that rock?"Alan Clay, in Dave Eggers' A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING, represents the next generation of contractor, still journeying to the forbidding and unfamiliar country to make fortunes by building prosaically named cities in places where no one in four thousand years had ever lived. Development of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC, pronounced "cake") has been moving at a pace akin to say, an Alaskan golf course retirement community. Its unfinished state is both a national joke and an unfulfilled royal promise to allow some Saudi women lives akin to those enjoyed by U.S. housewives in the Nixon era.Alan's company, Reliant, is a leading IT services outfit that wants to win the contract to wire the city and provide the latest telecommunications and computing technology. Alan, once a hot shot sales guy who became an increasingly ineffective marketing executive and then unemployed consultant, has persuaded the company his remote connection to a peripheral relative of the king will provide the entree it needs to acquire the business. As a sales consultant, Alan's fee is contingent on making the sale.His entire team consists of three 20-somethings responsible for staging a dog and pony show involving a holographic communications system. They're not interested in the business or the country and can barely be persuaded to move from the large tent where the demonstration is supposed to take place. Alan is both their nursemaid and highly superfluous leader.They can barely get a wi-fi signal, let alone a firm date to deliver the presentation, so they spend their time on a couch trying to connect their laptops and perhaps hook up with each other.Alan commutes between faraway Jeddah and the nascent city, often oversleeping and missing the shuttle. He starts letters he'll never send to the daughter whose college tuition he can't pay. He has some tangential encounters with the local and expat cultures without really catching on. And he frets about a growth on his neck that may be responsible for his malaise.He has opportunities with willing women but he can't quite bring himself around.In other words, Alan Clay is America in decline. Still a representative of the most powerful nation/company on earth, capable of amazing technological feats. And no wiser about another culture than we have ever been. No multinational I worked for would be capable of mounting such a feeble attempt to acquire such a lucrative contract. I imagine Eggers, who clearly researched the novel, means Reliant and Alan to be symbols and their focus on the bright and shiny object rather than the actual cost and strategic value of the relationship to represent the road we've taken by outsourcing our fundamental industries.Eggers is writing about larger themes here, but not in a didactic way. The story moves. The prose is clear and engaging. Alan is a weak character, but not annoyingly so. The book would make a good book club selection and probably would be made better by the discussion.I hate to call anything Dave Eggers does a summer read because HOLOGRAM resonates. It is also his most accessible book yet.The rocks in HOLOGRAM may not look that big, but they are.

  • Cheri
    2019-04-11 17:34

    In the late ‘60’s my father, who was a pilot, was approached about taking over the Saudi Arabia route, with a not inconsiderable jump in salary, plus other bonuses, paying our mortgage for the period of time we were gone, paying for whatever place we lived in there, or where my parents would have lived. My brothers and I would have been sent to various places for school, for me it would have been Switzerland, a boarding school. My father proceeded to “remind” us of the differences in the “customs,” including attire, and so on. At the mention of walking behind my father in public, my mother promptly announced she would do no such thing, and more or less stormed out of the room. Since then the idea of Saudi Arabia has intrigued me, my father still flew there often enough and I’ve seen his photographs of some beautiful places and people there, but it’s the people that seem to me, from this very American viewpoint, out of another time. So this little book, “A Hologram for the King” was a little like visiting it for a brief time, in the quirkiest way, through the eyes and mind of Dave Egger’s Alan Clay, a wishful dreamer for a return to a way of life that has slipped out of his fingers, and even though he can see, in hindsight, his contribution to the outsourcing of America, he still clings to it the dream, can’t really believe that this is what its come to, not in this post 9/11 world. While they play a game of sit-and-wait for the King to arrive, or even Alan’s contact, Alan’s “team” of twentyish beings who seem to have left whatever initiative they may have somewhere else. Day after day they sit in a large “Presentation Tent” without air conditioning, without being given food or water, inadequate Wi-Fi to work on their presentation, waiting to be told what to do. They have no interest in their surroundings outside the tent, hoping that when / if they King is to arrive that someone will do something about it. Alan sees himself through their eyes, succumbs to that vision for a while, but eventually tries to do something about it. For Alan, this is more than a job. He has a college tuition for his daughter he needs to come up with, a daughter he keeps trying to write letters to which don’t make his ex look bad, but offer some solid advice, and maybe some consolation about why her mother is so awful. In order to return, be able to face his life back home, Alan needs this sale. He desperately needs it, and so he desperately believes it will happen. When he’s not desperately praying for this to happen, he’s worrying about a growth on his neck that he is sure will turn out to be cancer. I loved Alan’s friendship with his driver that begins the first morning when he sleeps in too late and has missed the shuttle that drove his team to King Abdullah's Economic City. I loved the humor, occasionally subtle, in Eggers writing, and the underlying theme throughout.

  • Garythe Bookworm
    2019-04-18 22:34

    I really disliked this. I preordered it from Amazon last July after reading glowing reviews in newspapers and magazines. Other "goodreaders" commented that it was another self-indulgent exercise in navel-gazing by an angry white American male, but I dismissed them as too harsh-until I read it. Now I'm in that camp, too. I really admired another novel in this vein calledDear American Airlines, but this one never lived up to the hype. I found the plot to be sketchy and the characters underdeveloped. Alan, the narrator and protagonist, is a divorced father who is facing bankruptcy and chronic unemployment. He is also drowning in self-pity and hooch. He is hoping that this Saudi deal will save him, but as a character he is unsalvageable. I wouldn't want to sit next to him on a plane; reading about him for 312 pages is painful enough. There are some intelligent insights into the economic forces which have shaped the last 30 years, but that I could get from reading Newsweek. This probably should have been a short story.(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Annet
    2019-04-12 22:25

    A book that I liked and disliked at times so I'm not quite sure yet how to rate. Between 3 and 4. Can't really bring it to 4 stars... Alan Clay, an ageing business man with money problems, is in Saudi Arabia to present the newest IT technology, including a hologram to the King. While struggling with his personal issues, lack of sleep, problems with his daughter, and a growth in his neck that worries him, he and the team wait for the King... This is what the author says: "So I'd been thinking about this guy, Alan Clay, who he was and where he was in his life, and then one day I heard about the King Abdullah Economic city, and about American businessmen waiting in the desert for an audience with the king. That seems the perfect place for Alan, for a guy who knows he's in trouble but doesn't know how to find his way out. So he travels thousands of miles, to a desert, to wait for the approval of a despot. I liked that; it has a strong parallel to our own economy. The American economy has a lot of problems, and for solutions we tend to look everywhere but the mirror."Not my usual type of story, but intriguing all the same. Also intriguing Tom Hanks I hear that he is playing the part of Alan in a movie of this book. I can't quite see him in this part, but then he is a good actor.... Curious to see the movie and compare it to the book. Note: just watched the trailer... mmmm... yeah... I think I do want to see this:

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-04-16 23:14

    Conscientious moralist and all-round Good Egg(er) Dave Eggers in another era might be literary kryptonite. In these times, writers like Eggers who are devoted to giving voice to the voiceless need to be respected in spite of the contemptuous hauteur of educated neurotics like me who delight in turning our schnozes heavenward at this sort of thing. Even in the event of prose streamlined to within an inch of its life that wears its Beckett homage like a proud badge stating I’M DOING A WAITING FOR GODOT THING HERE. Eggers is an American novelist who seems to care about something outwith his navel and funnels his funds into excellent causes. I will continue to read this charming man even when his novels reach the apogee of finger-wagging let’s-all-be-kind-together liberalism and cool-dude whimsicality as long as this bepermed nicemeister continues to demonstrate exquisite Human Being skills and writes more illuminating novels pitched at the exact reading level for the masses to absorb on the off-chance some of them might look outwith their navels and give a flying patootie about the rest of the world. Dave 4 Prez.

  • Eric
    2019-04-12 22:36

    A brilliant snapshot of the times. Lean, but powerful, and at times beautiful, Eggers does what he does best -- captures the anxiety, humanity, and confusion of living in a world where the lines of country and culture are slowly eroding. I felt it was perfect that Eggers used a Beckett quote at the beginning of the book. The book is bleak and tragicomic, like much of Beckett's work, yet very much focused on the human condition. Eggers brilliantly illustrates the absurdity and surreal nature of life, and how we have become slaves to our own makings. How are we to exist in this world when none of the rules apply anymore? How long can we sustain societies built with smoke and mirrors?

  • Erica David
    2019-04-08 19:09

    It's two and a half stars, really. Almost three. Goodreads needs a rating for "Meh" because that's pretty much my reaction to it. Is it well written? Yes. Is it topical and relevant to our particular historical moment, this tale of a former manufacturing executive in existential crisis who finds himself in Saudi Arabia hoping to win an IT contract for the newly founded and still unfinished King Abdullah Economic City? Yes. Is it our mistaken belief as Americans who once made good product but have since outsourced our manufacturing to burgeoning superpowers such as China, that the only way we can possibly save ourselves from our recent economic sins and moral malaise is to once again build something with our own gnarled, guilt-ridden American hands? Yes. Do I care? No.Actually, that's unfair. I do care and I care about the thought and time that Eggers put into this novel. It is chock full of important ideas that a number of us are struggling to parse these days. My issue is that the ideas outweigh the characters. The characters feel sketchily drawn, typical, and seem to exist solely to service the plot. This is completely acceptable in an allegory or a political cartoon where everything is meant to be clearly labeled, but there's something about the thinness of character in what is meant to be an extremely timely and cogent novel that I find unforgivable.

  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2019-03-27 16:32

    It is 2010, and Alan Clay is waiting. Not for Godot, but for King Abdullah, in the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), which is a developing Red Sea port in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is a 54-year-old failed American businessman in serious debt, evading his creditors and anguishing over how he will pay for his daughter's next year in college. He also has an angry ex-wife and a worrying lump on his neck. This is his last hurrah, a chance to turn his life from sad and broke to flush and secure, if he and his young team from Reliant can pitch this hologram presentation to the King and win an IT contract.Alan is a bit of a sad sack, arriving at his failures largely due to the outsourcing of American business manufacturing. He was once a confident, prosperous sales executive with Schwinn, until he made some bad decisions, such as trying to convert a Soviet-era factory in Budapest to a capitalistic model. Sometime after that catastrophe, he followed the trend of globalization, and was instrumental in shipping Schwinn's labor to China. That was the end of Schwinn's American prosperity."How did your suppliers become your competitors? That was a rhetorical question...Teach a man to fish. Now the Chinese know how to fish, and ninety-nine percent of all bicycles are being made there in one province."Moreover, his father, now retired, had been a committed union man with Stride Rite, and treated Alan with contempt for his past misdeeds and his new job with Reliant."They're making actual things over there, and we're making websites and holograms...while sitting in chairs made in China, working on computers made in China, driving over bridges made in China. Does this sound sustainable to you, Alan?"As Alan recalls various high points and assaults on his career and personal life--his tense years wedded to the high-strung Ruby; a sentimental trip to Cape Canaveral with his daughter, Kit, to watch the last shuttle; the affluent years with Schwin--he continues to wait, either in his lonely hotel with no alcohol, or set up with his team of three in a tent with anemic wi-fi and no air conditioning, in 110-degree heat.Fortunately, Alan has forged a connection with a local, a young, enigmatic, chubby driver named Yousef, who is constantly looking under the hood of his car/taxi for explosives that may have been set by the husband of an ex-fiancé. Yousef is usually the comical straight man to the blundering Alan. As Alan shares his dreams and visions of selling his ideas to the King, Yousef tamps it down with some biting realities. Apparently, the King hasn't even been back to Jeddah in about 18 months.Yousef gives Alan a tour of this unrepentant desert region, a vast place tremendous with possibilities, but appears to be in a stage of arrested development. A billboard advertises the development, and there's a road that cuts through nothing, then a pair of stone arches, and a dome hovering over all of it. He imagines the city rising from its ashes. Presently, it looks like anywhere and nowhere--it could be Los Angeles, or Orlando, as there is nothing to give it distinction, except for its looming neutrality and the few towering or squat, square buildings.Alan attempts to make contact with the liaison, Karim al-Ahmad, at the building they call the "Black Box," and is given the royal runaround. Back to the stifling tent, he reminisces and deliberates some more. Is the lump on his neck malignant? Are they going to be served food? Is the King going to come soon? Days turn into weeks, and Alan has some interactive adventures. He meets a Danish beauty with an office in the Black Box and a secret stash of moonshine. He makes an appointment to have his lump evaluated and meets a serenely beautiful doctor. He even has an opportunity to prove himself an able marksman.Eggars has pared down his prose since the exuberant narrative style in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Here it is streamlined--lean, economic, slyly impassive. I enjoyed what was unsaid as much as what was said--the spaces between sentences, the pregnant pauses to ponder, the measured rhythm, the quivering tension, the elegy of a man feeling his impending absence more than his indefinite presence.There's a risk of the story being an agit-prop against the creeping ambush of globalization, a pithy cry about America's decline. Certainly that point is made, but not forcefully. Readers are already aware of the economic struggles, the backlash of end-stage capitalism and the pros and con arguments of outsourcing. Eggars is more interested in shaping a character we will identify and empathize with, and laugh at occasionally.Clay is a maladjusted baby boomer from the age of entitlement, losing his footing in the new privileges and prohibitions of global finance. His wounds, both physical and emotional, are palpable. Alan Clay is a suffering everyman, in the throes of unsustainability. There are wisps of Willy Loman, Herzog, and other memorable literary figures, aging tragic-comic men who suffered from obsolescence.It reads partly like a fabled allegory, but achingly real and plausible. Can the imminent foreclosure of a man's life be reversed? Will the King show up? I was touched, and considerably moved, by the story, characters, and themes. Don't expect a neatly wrapped up resolve. The droll and beguiling Eggars will hook you on page one, and won't let go, even when you reach the end.

  • Tom Tabasco
    2019-04-20 16:11

    I was lured by the cover and the title. I was hoping for a quick, fun, brilliant story that would give me some insight into Saudi Arabia and international business Big mistake. I found a French movie from the '70s instead. Seriously: a French Movie from the '70s, one of those where nothing happens, and actors are trying to convey despair in thousand of different ways, but all they can express is boredom. But hey! If you have a sudden craving for a story about a weak, self-pitying, sad, aimless loser who just has to kill time for the ENTIRE book, and if you truly, truly would love the whole thing to be soaked in an aura of confusion, despair and depression, you're in for a fucking TREAT with "A hologram for the King"!! my wonderful blog is here

  • Praxedes
    2019-04-17 17:35

    This book is about a character slowly imploding into his own manias. It reads like the memoir of a 21st century Willy Loman, so readers will either love or hate it. Thrust into a foreign country while battling his inner demons, the protagonist makes it clear that this is a do or die sales opportunity. Everything in his life somehow hinges on making this business deal go through. I happened to like the morosely interesting insights from a man caught in the grip of a debilitating, paralyzing mid-life crisis. In spite of the pressure to succeed there is room for learning, challenges, and subsequent reflection.The main character is 54 years old --same as yours truly-- so there were parts that definitely spoke to me! And I liked the fact that Eggers did not tie everything up neatly in the end. A very satisfying read.

  • Hadrian
    2019-03-29 19:07

    Well, the hardcover edition has a pretty cover. The plot also looks interesting in summary as well.The rest is just a disappointment. Eggers' style, a vast improvement over AHWOSG and used to great effect in Zeitoun, seems oddly flat here. The setting is a flat caricature of Saudi Arabia, with a deformed businessman somehow seducing two women over there, (one Danish, one Saudi), earning a large commission while simultaneously moping about the end of the American Dream and the Yellow Menace of the Chinese.Despite this spot of ichor I just spewed, I still have the greatest respect for Zeitoun, for his work at McSweeney's, for his philanthropy and his archaeology in discovering new writers. For the love of God, Eggers, please don't become Philip Roth and write banalities for the next thirty years. If this is a slump, don't let it get to you.

  • Elina
    2019-04-02 17:23

    Πολύ τρυφερό και ταυτόχρονα πολύ θλιβερό. Προτείνεται.

  • Dave Harrison
    2019-04-15 16:30

    I read this book professionally but, as part of the Eggers faithful, I was looking forward to it on a personal level ever since I first heard rumours of it existing. It proved itself worthy pretty damned quick.The plot is a simple one - an American man travels to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to sell holographic technology to the King. What the book is really about is the state of the U.S. following the recession, with a hypothesis on how it got to where it is today, and how it is affecting the average American family. A man in his fifties travels to Saudi Arabia on behalf of his company, a global IT concern. Despite making what he feels were the right decisions for his life and his family, he finds himself terribly in debt, with no prospect of ever getting out save one - making the sale to the king will earn him a fat commission, with which he will be able to pay for his teenage daughter's college tuition and put a healthy amount into his own savings. The book speaks plainly about how the greed of the West has been its own downfall, and has helped crush the American Dream. It notes the plight (and eventual downfall) of Schwinn, the Norman Rockwell of bicycle-makers - instead of outsourcing the manufacturing of its bikes to cheaper Eastern countries, it stubbornly kept making its bicycles on U.S. soil, and subsequently went into bankruptcy in the early 90's. Through this example, the book speaks to the problem with the "Made In China" ideal of manufacturing - if you build your product in China in order to cut costs and make more money, eventually the Chinese are going to learn how to make the product themselves. And then what will they need you for?I found myself entirely sympathetic to the plight and worries of protagonist. His needs were simple (to provide for his family), yet the world spun past him. I found myself thinking that I could easily become this man, and I haven't been able to quit thinking about it since putting the book down. Despite my trying to do the best I can for me and mine, there's a very real possibility that it will be out of my hands, and that the world will move on and leave many of us stumbling along trying to catch up. To my mind, this is one of the first novels to emerge from the post-recession world that comments on it so heavily, and it is certainly the best. It's story and message is simple, and makes it very accessible. It felt to me like a snapshot of our moment right now - in a thousand years, if there is still a civilization kicking around and if they have any interest in us, they will be able to read this book and get a clear picture of what happened to the American Dream. It moved to China.

  • Nathan
    2019-04-05 18:23

    Dave Eggers. I know right? You weren't quite expecting that. 22,421 Ratings · 2,730 ReviewsI mean, there are worse candidates for that level of popularity. And it's only his sixth most popular book. His first one, which I've read (my only Egger so far) and much enjoyed, gets up in the 100,000+ range. Frankly, I can't fathom that kind of massive readership.Dude turns out a book yearly. And of course that's not all. He's got the whole publishing thing down. I really don't know where his eternal literary reputation is going to land fifty plus years hence, but I hope he's at least remembered for having the chutzpah to place Rising Up and Rising Down into the public sphere. That along with....I have three more Eggers books on the shelf now for a good long time ; not knowing really why I've not gotten to them yet. I will. Thing is, he is so easy to read. An easy reading pleasure I really ought to indulge in more often being usually after those experiences of wtf is going on?!! Maybe I'll do an Eggers week here on vacation this Summer. That might be the thing. I like Eggers and I probably won't back down from that position.[thank you to the gr=Angel who sent me this beautifully built personally inscribed copy. I'll treasure it.]

  • Nancy Sirvent
    2019-04-13 22:34

    I was off to a very enjoyable start with this book. However, I became utterly distracted by some very obvious things that were not caught by a copy editor (I suspect that there was no editor). It was mostly inconsistencies. On one page a character is having a phone conversation with his ex-wife and then several pages later he tells us that he hasn't spoken with her by phone for two years.The character arrives at a location at noon. He has a couple of meetings, watches a film, gets a tour, and meets many people. He then joins his colleagues, at which time we are told that it is "just after noon."The character is given a certain kind of drink, in a bottle, by someone. He later takes some sips from it. A few pages later, the bottle has become a glass and in some places is referred to by two different names. It looked as though that section had been heavily edited and no one went back to check that it still made sense.There were a couple of others, believe it or not, and I actually started flagging them. Once an editor, always . . .

  • Paul Gleason
    2019-03-29 16:16

    A Hologram for the King proves that Eggers' forte is non-fiction (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and Zeitoun) - or, at least, fiction based on non-fictional events (What Is the What). Unfortunately, whenever Eggers tries to concoct a compelling novel, he falls flat. See Hologram, as well as You Shall Know Our Velocity!Eggers' heart and soul are as big as they come. It's seems obvious to me that the early deaths of his parents affected him deeply and have determined the course of his work: an extended exploration of human suffering. This exploration has taken Eggers from the personal (Heartbreaking Work) to the political (Zeitoun, What Is the What, and, now, Hologram).The problem with the latest novel has to do with its bizarre lack of depth. Eggers is now intent on writing very simple sentences, which make Hologram read almost like a children's book. But the prose style doesn't comply with the sophisticated subject matter: American-Muslim relations, the downfall of the American economy through outsourcing jobs, the existential crises of middle-aged men, and father-daughter relationships.The upshot is the prose can't carry the weight of an exploration of some of the most important social and economic issues of our times. Eggers' heart is in the right place, but his text is extremely superficial.A side note: If you do end up reading Hologram, be sure to enjoy the last few pages, which consist of one of the most hilariously written sex scenes of all time.

  • Betsy McTiernan
    2019-04-20 16:37

    I like Dave Eggers' new novel, Hologram For a King, mostly because it profiles a loser in the amazing race of advanced capitalism. Alan, individualist and good capitalist, finds himself at middle-age being pushed aside. He makes career changes to profit from the rapid global economic shifts--from saleman, to corporate manager to downsizer. But it hasn't worked for him. When the novel opens he's on the edge of economic collapse, but still dreaming of catching the brass ring. He's hired as a consultant by an IT company and sent to Saudia Arabia to sell a innovative new communication system (a hologram) to King Abdullah who is supposed to be building a state-of-the art economic development zone (See Dubai) in the desert. The heart of the story is about Alan's slow realization that the project--at least from his standpoint--will come to nothing. I can't say I never liked Alan. In fact, I began the novel feeling quite superior to him. "What a chump," I kept thinking. But eventually, Eggers was successful in evoking my sympathy, even a feeling of tenderness. Alan is so deluded, as are we all.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-21 17:24

    First things first: I love Dave Eggers's work and admire all that he has done as a writer, publisher, public intellectual, social commentator, brother, savior, and believer in the the power of books. I also loved the physical book itself. Holding the beautifully textured linen cover of 'Hologram' was great. Incised and dusted with gold, its feel was a tactile pleasure not often found in today's reading universe, and it was a marvelously apt visual image for the story within.Ah, but the story within: an admixture of Scherazade ; Waiting for Godot; Death of a Salesman; Lost Horizon; Moby Dick; and the biblical stories of Jonah and Job---with a little Emerson, Thoreau and Michael Moore thrown in just to round things out. Dizzy yet? Maybe it's the endless heat of Saudi Arabia, maybe it's the spinning of Eggers's endlessly creative mind, or maybe it's just too much. For much, much better Eggers, read anything, and everything, else he has written. But I still love him.

  • Zorro
    2019-03-27 21:18""This may all sound a little too much like metaphor — or romanticism — but Eggers’s sense of loss is hard-earned and his feeling for his characters as affectingly real as his epigraph from Beckett (“It is not every day that we are needed”). At times, his book reminds one of Douglas Coupland’s deeply wistful tales of Generation X’s search for belief and direction, at other times of the weightless suburban drifters of Haruki Murakami’s world, all but longing (in “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” say) for an earlier era of intensity and war. A sense of impermanence and possible disaster is always very close in Eggers’s work — here it’s sometimes devouring — and that is what makes his good nature and hopefulness so rending, and so necessary. Every now and then he pulls back from his engagingly stumbling characters to suggest a larger order: “The work of man is done behind the back of the natural world. When nature notices, and can muster the energy, it wipes the slate clean again.”""In the end, what makes “A Hologram for the King” is the conviction with which Eggers plunges into the kind of regular working American we don’t see enough in contemporary fiction, and gives voice and heft to Alan’s struggles in an information economy in which he has no information and there’s not much of an economy. At one point, with nothing to do, Alan starts writing to his daughter to persuade her to forgive her mother, the ex-wife who has all but destroyed him. “People think you’re able to help them and usually you can’t,” he writes. “And so it becomes a process of choosing the one or two people you try hardest not to disappoint.” Such is the fragility of Alan’s situation, though, that even that modest hope seems far from guaranteed, mostly because Alan is such a non-virtual man, the opposite of a hologram.Norman Mailer probably hated the fact that many of us consider his great, essential narrative to be his “nonfiction novel” about Gary Gilmore, “The Executioner’s Song”; the whole long, tragic story is delivered with extraordinary documentary fidelity and restraint, and yet only someone as obsessed as Mailer was with rebellion and possession could have invested the tale with such intensity. In much the same way, Eggers has developed an exceptional gift for opening up the lives of others so as to offer the story of globalism as it develops and, simultaneously, to unfold a much more archetypal tale of struggle and loneliness and drift. Public and private explorations come together, and as this groundbreaking writer grows wiser and deeper and more melancholy, evolving from telling his own stories to voicing America’s, he might be asking us how we can bring the best parts of our past into a planetary future.""

  • Chrissie
    2019-03-31 22:16

    Really great read but then the end of the book and the fate of the lead character, Alan Clay, were horrible.I think it's the type of book that seems like it's leading somewhere fascinating and then it has a cynical and harsh doomed-limbo ending. I'm not sure it's the type of book you want to read unless you're the type of person who has absolutely no faith in humanity. Or you simply hate businessmen, which I do - but even as such, the book is not much more than the statement "I hate businesspeople and suits." (if it is indeed an adolescent hate-suits statement)Eggers seemed to be going so well and full-steam in the book, but then the end makes it seem like he has some petty grudge against the suits - did Dave not get the memo about corporate America and their lack of ethics and empathy? Is giving them the finger going to help matters? I thought Eggers was maturing and the narrative throughout much of the book indicated as much - and then he ends with a crap on the bathroom floor, maybe thinking it was subtle or nuanced. There are so many great observations and moments in the book that it's too bad his editor (if he still retains one; it seems he may do his own editing and could need an outside influence) didn't suggest something a little more complex for the final words, the final message. It seems by the end that Eggers just wastes an entire well-written book that could be close to brilliant. Read it and enjoy it, but maybe you'll see how pointless the kind of hopeless message is at the end.

  • Dee
    2019-04-10 17:29

    Never judge a book by its cover. That's what I did with this book and I was very sorry I did. The cover is made to look like a hand-carved wooden cover on a book you might find in a Middle Eastern bazaar. I was also intrigued because the author wrote Zetouin, which is a non-fiction story about a muslim man who was falsely imprisoned after Katrina. The cover caught me, the slim New Orleans connection reeled me in.I should have known when the description said that the story was elegiac. Boy, was it. I couldn't stand the main character, Alan Clay, and his utter self-involvement and lamentations over the mistakes he's made. Yes, it does place it well in our current times and gives some framing for the current economic state we are in. But the story is so plodding, with very little actually happening. That is part of the point, but that doesn't make it any more enjoyable. The only things I liked were the description of Saudi Arabia in all of its dichotomies and the character of Yousef. I would have much preferred story focusing on Yousef.

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-03-25 23:15

    Dave Eggers Goes to Saudi Arabia and Finds a DesertDave Eggers is a phenomenon. Author of 17 books and two screenplays, including fiction, nonfiction, and a memoir, several of them best-sellers; founder of McSweeney’s publishing company; and co-founder of the celebrated literacy project 826 Valencia, the man is only 42 at this writing. I’m envious and a little in awe. (Well, maybe a lot in awe.)In A Hologram for the King, Eggers inserts himself into the psyche of Alan Clay, a latter-day Willy Loman, a long-time salesman for the late lamented Schwinn Bicycle Company who has been retained by an IBM-like global firm to sell a huge package of IT services to the octogenarian King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Alan stands in for the millions of white-collar, middle-class Americans displaced by globalization, automation, and a world that’s moving too fast for comfort. He has a daughter in college, an abusive ex-wife, a best friend who literally went off the deep end and died, an unpayable mound of debts to his friends, and an excessive liking for alcohol. He also possesses a large lump on his neck that he’s convinced is cancerous and responsible for all his recent clumsiness and erratic behavior. In other words, Alan is a mess. I found it hard to sympathize for the man.However, Eggers writes beautifully. His descriptions of the Saudi environment and the close-up look he offers from time to time about Saudi life are fascinating. His smoothly flowing prose draws you seamlessly from one scene to the next, shifting between flashbacks to Alan’s life before his current assignment and his frustrating weeks in Saudi Arabia. But the story Eggers tells is far from uplifting or enlightening. Alan demonstrates his inability to relate to others in sustained relationships, first with the young Saudi man who drives him around, then with a young Danish consultant who wants sex from him he can’t give her, and finally with the female Saudi doctor who surgically removes the lump on his neck. All this unfolds while Alan is waiting for the King to show up for him and his young team to demonstrate the holographic communication system they’re certain will close the big deal and right all the wrongs in Alan’s life.In other words, not much happens in A Hologram for the King. I believe it was Joseph Heller who defined a novel as a book in which something happens. (It was probably somebody else, but Heller wrote one under that title.) Maybe it’s silly of me, but I prefer novels where stuff happens.To date I’ve read only two of Eggers’ previous books, both of which I thought far superior to this one: What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a fictionalized account of a very real South Sudanese child soldier, and Zeitoun, a nonfiction treatment of the travails of a Syrian-American family caught up in the chaos of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina.

  • Jill
    2019-04-08 17:15

    A hint of Dave Egger’s ambitious theme can be gleaned right from the title. A hologram is a three-dimensional photographic image that appears to have depth; in reality, it is only an illusion.Alan Clay – his very name suggests an unformed man – is illusionary in many ways himself. A quintessential American salesman, with wisps of Willy Loman, Alan has “sold actual objects to actual people”, at Fuller Brush and later at Schwinn. When we meet up with him, he is deeply in debt, a divorced middle-aged man with a daughter who may need to drop out of college, and a scary golf-ball-sized lump on the back of his neck. He works for a company with the ironic name of Reliant and he is betting on one last chance: spearheading a sophisticated holographic presentation to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and, hopefully, netting a lucrative technological contract.All is, indeed, illusionary. The parallels to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot are strong: each day, Alan Clay and three interchangeable IT assistants show up at a sweltering tent in King Abdullah Economic City – itself a dream – to wait for the King’s arrival. Each day, the King does not show up, and no one seems to know exactly when and if he WILL show up. And so they persevere.What is real is Alan Clay’s relationship with his daughter, Kit, and the most poignant parts of this novel are the repeated, unsent letters to his daughter; the communications in those letters are poignantly, achingly authentic. During those times, alone in his hotel room and trying to reach out, Alan Clay achieves three-dimensional status. In all other relationships, he presents just a shell, unable to experience the joy of living.A major theme that’s developed in Hologram is the global winds of change; the outsourcing of our future and it is here that Dave Eggers overreaches. Schwinn’s problems, for example, offer a textbook sample of an internal combustion; their president cut back on research, including valuable customer demographics and competitor analyses, ignored vital trends, and closed down internal dissent. The outsourcing to Taiwan and China was a result, more than a cause. Too often, Mr. Eggers tweaks with facts to support his themes and goals.That being said, A Hologram for the King is a very good book about a vanishing America and an increasingly obsolete American worker. Fittingly, the once hands-on Alan Clay is now that deadliest of vocations, a “consultant”, parched in a desert, dependent on “fixers”, and holding on to a dream that can vanish – like a hologram – when the plug is pulled.

  • Andrew Hicks
    2019-04-07 19:21

    I bought a pristine trade paperback copy of A Hologram For the King for 50 cents at the library, based on the strength of the blurbs and review quotes on the back of the book. In six centuries, the Mona Lisa hasn't gotten as much praise as Hologram received in 2012. This is one of those praise roll-calls that starts on the back cover and moves to the first eight pages of the inside cover. And I had two quarters burning a hole in my pocket, so I was sold.And, yeah, overall it was an accessible, gripping read, but - especially when the first 8 pages of the book are respected publications and authorities ("'I'd die for this book. Read it now!' -Jesus Christ") telling you how great your experience is about to be - it peaked early. It's like watching a juggler who can juggle six balls open his show by juggling six balls, then continue to juggle six balls for the next hour. Hologram is impressive, but it builds to nothing. Half the fun for me in the first half was trying to predict where the story would go. By the second half, I was like, Oh, this IS the story. It's atmospheric. It's episodic. It's got a lot to say about economic globalization, work vs. family, the decline of America as superpower and the value of bootleg alcohol when there's nothing else around. But in a year, I think the three things I'll remember about reading this book are:1) It got me very interested in reading more Dave Eggers books.2) It led to an inspired reignition of this Eggers thread from my Goodreads buddy Snotchocheez.3) It has a Goodreads rating of 3.32 but somehow curiously also has a critic rating of 6.32.

  • Megankellie
    2019-04-05 18:29

    Well, this is a moody little book that will make you want to walk around a park for a while and think about until the oil falls out of the gears in your brain. I read the screenplay to the movie he wrote and was so offended by the stage directions, I broke up with him forever in my mind. I mean I loved that movie so much I wanted to run up and down things and destroy stuff, and to read the stage directions, I was like "oh, what I didn't realize is that Dave hates me, thinks I'm some kind of a rube moron, and will never have empathy for my humanity because I like microwaved popcorn and sometimes find People Magazine interesting and get diarrhea every once in a while." This book totally scrubs that away.The language is very plain but there are such complex themes - middle age, memory, the global economy, things you can build, the significance of the entire virtual world, masculinity, success, desire, failure - very gentle, very human. You totally identify with the main character and feel a deep kindness towards him, which I think in books always bleeds out to yourself, and with this book sorta bleeds out into the whole mess of being a person. You think of Detroit, and the labor force, and competing with Asia, and the general question of human rights vs. economics, which is sorta a central question of being a person. If anyone wants to talk about this during a blackout or in the rain, it would be find with me, because there's something about it that makes you want to nod and let your eyes tear up, but not have anyone make you feel better because it's just a normal reaction to a weird complex unsolvable reality.