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A Hologram for the King

A Hologram for the King [Kindle Edition]

Dave Eggers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Mr. Eggers uses a new, pared down, Hemingwayesque voice to recount his story... he demonstrates in "Hologram" that he is master of this more old-fashioned approach as much as he was a pioneering innovator with "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius."...[This] sad-funny-dreamlike story unfolds to become an allegory about the frustrations of middle-class America, about the woes unemployed workers and sidelined entrepreneurs have experienced in a newly globalized world in which jobs are being outsourced abroad.... A comic but deeply affecting tale about one man's travails that also provides a bright, digital snapshot of our times."
--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"A spare but moving elegy for the American century."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Eggers can do fiction as well as he likes."--Carolyn Kellogg, "The Los Angeles Times"
"A potent, well-drawn portrait of one man's discovery of where his personal and professional selves split and connect."--"Kirkus Reviews"
"An extraordinary work of timely and provocative themes...This novel reminds us that above all, Eggers is a writer of books, and a writer of the highest order....An outstanding achievement in Eggers's already impressive career, and an essential read."--Carmela Ciuraru, "The San Francisco Chronicle"
"Eggers understands the pressures of American downward-mobility, and in the protagonist of his novel, Alan Clay, has created an Everyman, a post-modern Willy Loman....The novel operates on a grand and global scale, but it also is intimate."--Elizabeth Taylor, "The Chicago Tribune"
"Fascinating...Although Godot may be "Hologram"'s philosophical source, Eggers is no Beckettian minimalist. The novel is paradoxically suspenseful, but it's also rich in character and in Eggers's evocative writing about place..."A Hologram for the King," as far from home as it might seem, is an acute slice of American life."--Colette Bancroft, "Tampa Bay Times"
"Dave Eggers is a pr

Product Description

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 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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 795 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including "Zeitoun," a nonfiction account a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina and "What Is the What," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine ("The Believer"), and "Wholphin," a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LOST IN TRANSITION 12 Aug 2012
By Diacha
Dave Eggers' "A Hologram for the King" is both an entertaining satire of the at times surreal expatriate experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a deeper meditation on the hollowing out of the American industrial economy.

In fiction, business executives are generally stereotyped as either sinister or feckless. "Hologram's" Alan Clay is of the familiar second type. He is 54, divorced, broke, and having been made serially redundant from well-known companies (notably Schwinn the late bicycle manufacturer) he is striving to eke out an existence as an under-employed consultant. Somehow, on the basis of a tenuous connection to a member of the KSA royal family and his client's ignorance, he lands what is potentially a game changing contract to lead the sales pitch of Reliant (the world's largest IT concern) to the King Abdullah Economic City ("KAEC as in cake") that is being built near Jeddah.

Alan's experience in KSA will be familiar to most western travelers to the Kingdom. He turns up for confirmed meetings only to find that his counterparty is out of the country. He passes a military checkpoint where a close to comatose soldier dangles his feet in an inflatable pool to keep cool; he encounters three dozen south Asian workers dense-packed in a semi finished luxury apartment while one floor above, a Saudi salesman occupies a similar apartment equipped to the highest standard of luxury; he discovers illicit rot-gut liquor; he gets invited to a drunken party at a Nordic embassy, and so on.

Eggers is not especially concerned to ridicule Saudi Arabia, though its absurdities make for easy satire. His main "message" is the passing of America's industrial age.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eggers shapes Clay. 21 April 2013
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Fiftysomething Alan Clay is a low-key kinda guy. He is going through some sort of existential late mid-life crisis but even that is a low-key kinda breakdown. Financially strapped, he is dependent on closing a gazillion dollar deal with King Abdullah in Saudi's new city-in-the-making. But when he eventually arrives at the nascent King Abdullah Economic City, there's no sign of the king and Clay enters a Kafkaesque world where his already shaky grip on things becomes even more precarious.

This loss of grip is reflected in the underlying thrust of the story - the loss of manufacturing in the States and the economic rise of China. Unfortunately, this reader's interest tailed off somewhat for the last third of the book when Eggers digresses from these twin themes to go on a couple of detours but nevertheless this is a terrific read from a terrific writer.

You can see Alan Clay so clearly that it's as if he is standing right in front of you and Dave Eggers portrays the anomalies of life in the Kingdom so well it's as if you are there. Whilst many aspects of what is happening to Clay are really quite sad and touching, this is a very humorous read. Clay's car journeys with his driver Yousef, a wonderfully drawn character, are hilarious. 4.5*
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of Sales Men 20 April 2013
Eggers novel reads like a contemporary take on Arthur Miller's famous play, Death of a Salesman. It not only manages to expose the hollowness of a relatively unsuccessful commercial life, but places it in the context of globalisation. The decline of America is juxtaposed with the rise of China. But it is its setting, Saudi Arabia, which suggests that the spread of capitalism consequent on US decline is very thin indeed. Like the new desert city planned by the Saudi king, it confuses aspiration for reality in the business speak which masquerades as the new lingua franca. The novel's message is both highly local and global, individual and societal. As we are all increasingly herded into `competition' with one another, on the basis it will encourage dynamism and success, the results are often the very opposite: mediocrity, lack of sufficient resources, and worst of all, self-deception. This is definitely a novel of its time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Man in Arabia 18 Feb 2013
By NickR
A fine book, wryly humorous, narrated with confidence and restraint. The theme - the emptiness around us, and the importance of being able to identify and grasp the real - is handled at a number of levels, which prevents it becoming as depressing as it might sound. The protagonist, poor Alan Clay, is an homme moyen sensuel who has lost all his points of reference and is adrift in a world he no longer understands.

This is the first book I've read by Dave Eggers, and I'll certainly buy another.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in a globalised world 21 Oct 2013
By markb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Meet Alan. He's arrived in Jeddah for the chance of a lifetime, to revive a career that has seen much better times. He needs to really earn that final commission that is going to be the answer to all his problems. Things don't go as he had hoped and we are taken on a journey through Saudi and but also into Alan's soul. We meet his ex-wife, his much younger and keener work colleagues and a range of Saudi citizens, who variously help or hinder him. The book includes details on the decline of manufacturing in the USA,; the money markets; and a range of perspectives on Saudi society. We learn a lot and are gripped by how Alan gets by in a very alien place and how he comes to understand his past relationships and his emotional issues. Perhaps the book is an allegory for the way we live now? It certainly offers an extremeley well written gipping story about the place of an individual lost in a globalised world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars intersting but inconclusive
I enjoyed this meandering tale but would struggle to recommend it. The central character is endearing and interesting but the plot is a bit thin.
Published 3 months ago by cburrow
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
After reading his previous books I expected more. Frankly I'm amazed I finished it, the character of Alan wasn't deep enough for me, the story of his life inconsequential and the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by didunn1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
4.5 stars
Fantastic account of a sad man's mid-life crisis as he attempts to sell an elaborate software system to an Arab king. Brilliantly perceptive, touchingly human. Read more
Published 4 months ago by twinmum
4.0 out of 5 stars The lost American dream
Alan Clay is looking for one big pay-day and he travels to Saudi Arabia convinced that his financial woes will be at an end....... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A. J. ROBERTSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Superb allegory on the erosion of America's global relevance.

Comical but tragic commentary on a nation past its' peak.

Eggers at his best.
Published 5 months ago by James Fulham
5.0 out of 5 stars if you liked zeitoun you will love this
Egg era does it again ! This is funny poignant and full of believable characters
Very enjoyable . Laugh out out loud
Published 6 months ago by Tree
4.0 out of 5 stars satisfying, for the most part
Alan is stranded in Saudi Arabia on an IT project no one seems to want. His stay is both eventful and sluggish, marred by his inability to make the most of opportunities that come... Read more
Published 6 months ago by SophieG
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read.
The whole story is an allegory. Ideal for a book group - we had a really good discussion at mine with hugely varied feelings a about the book. I loved it.
Published 7 months ago by Claire Corkran
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK holiday read
I had high hopes of this book after listening to a radio 4 review on the book club program, but somehow it never inspired. Read more
Published 7 months ago by moira pool
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparse, Subtle, Perceptive
This 2012 novel by Dave Eggers is the first fiction I have read by the man, despite having intended to do so earlier, having initially read his powerful non-fiction account of the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Keith M
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