Sunday, December 30, 2012

"A Hologram for the King", a novel by Dave Eggers

This is a really fine book.  That comment is from a Dave Eggers fan, a fan of Dave Eggers the writer and Dave Eggers the person.

"A Hologram for the King" is a wonder of Egger's imagination and his meticulous research.  Briefly, very briefly, it follows a 54 year old dispossessed and distressed former corporate executive as he attempts to salvage his life with a consulting job that takes him to Saudi Arabia.  His mission is to secure a technology contract at King Abdullah Economic City, which ultimately requires a demonstration of the technology to King Abdullah, whose distant cousin he once knew. 

That's the framework, but it is just a framework for a thoughtful low key examination of global economic trends, the state of Saudi Arabia today, and the disarray of one man's life as he lives out being the detritus of corporate downsizing and outsourcing, unneeded and pushed aside.  That all sounds grim, but in fact this book is full of humor, wry humor, the humor of astute observations or a perfectly turned phrase, and just outright joke telling, a still active aspect of the protagonist's diminishing charm.

Egger's writing is, as usual, spare and beautifully straightforward, with not the least bit of pretension.


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