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A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
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A Hologram for the King (edition 2012)

by Dave Eggers

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7383212,638 (3.46)33
Member:foodairbooks
Title:A Hologram for the King
Authors:Dave Eggers
Info:McSweeney's (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 328 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers (Author)

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English (29)  Dutch (2)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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"!! ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
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"!! ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
I gave up on this book before I finished it, because I found it too depressing and too hopeless to follow to the end. This illustrates the fact that when it comes to fiction, tastes differ -- the reviews I read interested me in the book, and plenty of people have reviewed it favorably in this forum. Part of the problem was that the central character, Alan Clay (the ghost of Willy Loman hovers round), seemed doomed from the beginning. The fact that things were never going to come together was abundantly clear from the get-go, as was the fact Alan was going to screw up. None of the other characters did much to liven things up (presumably if Alan can't really see them, neither can we), and the setting was shall we say static. So, as things plodded inexorably downhill, I abandoned ship. (Confession and spoiler alert: I did check out the end.

Yep. ( )
  annbury | Dec 4, 2013 |
For the life of me I have no idea what the point of this book was. I should have been warned when I saw on the cover that it was one of The New York Time Book Reviews 10 best books of the year, for me at least this is never a recommendation, for a book I will enjoy. I certainly did not enjoy this book of nothing. I really wish I had read some of the reviews on Goodreads first, I would never have bought the book. I had no idea the author was some 1960's author which explains a lot regarding the main characters disillusionment with the last 8 years. What is worse is that I never cared about Alan Clay the main character, and it seemed like neither did the Author. ( )
  zmagic69 | Nov 13, 2013 |
What on earth has happened to Dave Eggers? It's a little hard to believe that the man who authored books like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, How We Are Hungry and What is the What penned a work as weak as this.

True, Zeitoun was written in a similarly simplistic style, which I forgave at the time as an attempt to replicate the title character's way with English as a second language. Unfortunately the same utterly basic prose is rolled out yet again here and it makes the novel an extremely blunt criticism of neo-liberal capitalism, globalization and the hollowing out of America's industrial base. These are heavy topics that have my sympathy and deserve attention, but Eggers' novel is so simplistic and obvious that the issues lack any subtlety and come across as rather tedious and boring when stretched over 300 plus pages.

The less said about the novel's moping main character the better. Why Eggers thought a man who can't even write a letter to his daughter would make for an interesting lead character I have no idea. I quickly lost sympathy with Alan because he is so thoroughly useless and defeated. I have nothing against that sort of character - I love Turgenev's many superfluous men and their faults - but Alan is such a complete downer that I couldn't wait to end my time in his world.

The ending is particularly lame too: overly simplistic and brief. I won't spoil what little there is to spoil, but it was just another unsatisfying element in a very poor novel.

First Zeitoun and now this; I'm wondering if Eggers is worth my time any more. I'm certainly not rushing off to buy The Circle. ( )
  DRFP | Nov 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
The saving grace is that Eggers' subject is so timely and important, and the way he dramatises it so apt and amusing. [...] Eggers is good at conveying the hallucinatory, weightless feeling of expatriate life in the Gulf states: the featureless hotels that "could have been in Arizona, in Orlando, anywhere"; the wild parties in closed-off diplomatic compounds; the huge structures thrown up by oil wealth in the middle of nowhere.
added by DieterBoehm | editThe Guardian, Theo Tait (Jan 30, 2013)
 
A diverting, well-written novel about a middle-aged American dreamer, joined to a critique of how the American dream has been subverted by outsourcing our know-how and manufacturing to third-world nations. That last is certainly a distinctly contemporary touch. However, as for Alan himself: We’ve seen him and his brothers before, in William Dean Howells’s “The Rise of Silas Lapham,” in Theodore Dreiser’s “The Financier” and Sinclair Lewis’s “Babbitt,” in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and John Updike’s Rabbit novels. In literature, if not in life, middle-aged businessmen seldom find happiness.
 
In the New York Times Book Review, Pico Iyer called the novel “[a] supremely readable parable of America in the global economy that is haunting, beautifully shaped and sad ... With ferocious energy and versatility, [Eggers] has been studying how the world is remaking America ... 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.”
 
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Epigraph
It's not every day that we are needed.
- Samuel Beckett
Dedication
For Daniel McSweeney, Ron Hadley,
and Paul Vida, great men all
First words
Alan Clay woke up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was May 30, 2010. He had spent two days on planes to get there.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Er zou een tijd komen waarin de wereld mensen voortbracht die sterker waren dan zij. [..] Maar tot die tijd zouden er vrouwen en mannen zijn zoals Hanne en Alan, onvolmaakt en zonderde weg naar de volmaaktheid te kennen.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 193636574X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:53 -0400)

"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"--Publisher.

(summary from another edition)

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Audible.com

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241145872, 0241965152

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