A hologram for the king

a novel

312 pages

English language

Published April 6, 2012 by McSweeney's Books.

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3 stars (9 reviews)

"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.

1 edition

Review of 'A hologram for the king' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The story of a white, middle aged, upper middle class business man who has fallen on hard times due in large part to the economic policies that he (and people like him) were responsible for. He is lost and drifting and searching for meaning. Now he's in Saudi Arabia for a business trip of uncertain duration, during which he is supposed to meet the King at an undetermined time. And although he is a stranger in a strange land, he just might be beginning to find meaning-- and himself -- as he experiences life in this unfamiliar, alien place.

The good:
1. Dave Eggers is an engaging writer. This is a book about melancholy and self-doubt that also manages to be quite funny at times.

2. The book is peppered with interesting, though one-dimensional, characters who integrate the protagonist into Saudi life.

3. The main character is the "Everyman" of …

Review of 'A hologram for the king' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Usually I'll let a book simmer in my head for a few hours to a couple of days before I handle a review on it, but I finished this one about 5 minutes ago. Calling it 3 stars and I'm unlikely to need to revise.

A lot happens in A Hologram for the King. But not much happens in a Hologram for a King. As its protagonist, Alan Clay, struggles to be a man of consequence there's a tremendous amount of pondering and assessment. As most of the substance of the novel is the firing of synapses, triggered by small events, the novel can touch on pretty heavy late-middle-aged themes. The floundering (and foundering) fatherhood theme is personally relevant. But in the mix you'll also find thoughts on globalism, capitalism, mortality, friendship, and love (or, at least, sex).

Despite all the heavy thinking and even some strong emotional content, the …

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  • Recessions
  • Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009
  • Families
  • Businessmen
  • Fiction


  • United States
  • Saudi Arabia