A Hologram for the King
A Novel by Dave Eggers
Nominated for the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction
2012 / 217 Pages (ebook)
On the surface, A Hologram for the King is a book about a character that needs Viagra in the worst way. The main character was as limp and impotent as, well, I will just leave it at he was limp and impotent. At first it surprised me that this book has been tossed about for a run at the Rooster and is a National Book Award Nominee.
The book is about Alan Clay, a middle class, middle aged, loser, whose world is tumbling down around him. He has failed in his last several business ventures and his marriage. In a last ditch effort to pull himself out of a downward spiral, Alan somehow lucks into being assigned to a sales presentation team to sell IT to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah's Economic City (KAEC) because he knows the king's nephew.
Alan arrives in Saudi Arabia and waits several weeks for the meeting with the King. As we wait with him, we are entertained by the thoughts of all of his failures past and present, a couple of which Alan really could have used the Viagra. Will his future be so bleak?
What actually makes this book, uh, potent is that it attempts to show the current impotence of the United States and actually does so effectively. Not until I started writing this review did I realize how effectively Eggers has told the story of the United States and its drought of success. How our early greed and constant desire for wealth at all costs has driven business overseas and now our country can not compete as we have price ourselves out of the market. For our companies to be profitable they send jobs elsewhere; yet, in doing so we continue to flounder as we can not provide jobs for our own.
Regardless of the crafty way Eggers presents his economic commentary, I found Alan Clay completely irritating and wished he had the brains to make a paste with the leaves to ease the pain in his Traker Jacker sting, oh, sorry wrong book. Limp and impotent - lets hope the future of the US is not so bleak as that of Alan Clay...