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A Hologram for the King

by Dave Eggers

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1,7097010,431 (3.36)47
Fiction. Literature. HTML:

In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman named Alan Clay 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.

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» See also 47 mentions

English (68)  Dutch (2)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
Read on Audio. Alan Clay is struggling salesman coming to the end of his career trying land that one big deal. He travels to Saudi Arabia to sell IT infrastructure to the King for his new business city being built in the middle of the desert. Part of the sales pitch is to show of the company's new holographic conferencing system (this seems pretty cool, but it was written in 2012 before the era of Zoom that we now live in :) ). He and his team go to this tent every day to wait for the King's arrival, no one knows when or if he'll show. Its kind of a Waiting for Godot sort of thing. While he's waiting, we just get a kind of meditation on his life and where things have gone off the rails. It was a pretty good, quick read. ( )
  mahsdad | Apr 19, 2024 |
Directionless. Probably the best part of this book is the title. It incorrectly insinuates some SciFi plot. Instead, the contemporary story revolves around a close-to-retirement, failed consultant. His one final chance is to use a network connection to secure a Middle East business contract. However, his presentation is low priority and he must wait an unknown amount of days or weeks for his opportunity. The book is filled with the irrelevant events until his meeting. By far the worst book my club has selected :(

Themes:
Going to the tent everyday
Tumor
Suicide neighbor
Insomnia
Colleagues
Ex wife
Father
Yousef
Doctor
King ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Great and easy and fun read. But the NYT has this as one of the 5 best fiction books of 2012, which seems like a bit of overrate. Also: very much a "guy" book: by a guy, about two guys, the women characters are 2 that the main character fools around with, and an ex-wife and daughter that we never actually meet. ( )
  aleshh | Jan 12, 2024 |
I love Eggers! ( )
  DKnight0918 | Dec 23, 2023 |
Not worth the time. Dreary story about a loser. ( )
  Bonnie_Bailey | Jun 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (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.
 
Dave Eggers hat einen ebenso vergnüglichen wie gescheiten Roman über den Aberwitz der Globalisierung geschrieben.
 
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 your language.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman named Alan Clay 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.

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