The power of this thing sneaks up on you slowly. That’s partly because A Hologram For the King is not the first novel you’ve read about a middle-aged American male who’s in desperate need of a financial and emotional comeback and who’s got an intense physical ailment that stands in for soul sickness. But it’s also because, to his credit, Eggers has evolved into the least showy or heavy-handed of writers — this is a guy who clearly thinks that adverbs are empty carbs. Our antihero, Alan Clay, is in Saudi Arabia trying to snag a giant tech contract from King Abdullah and futzing with a weird lump on his neck. Waiting for the king, however, is like waiting for Godot. While Alan cools his heels, he bonds with memorably drawn locals; has some adventures that illuminate the tragicomedy that is globalism; and gets us meditating on what appears to be the theme of Eggers’ own life, as well as of his many quiet philanthropies: How can we all get over ourselves long enough to really, truly notice other people? A-
'KINGLY' READ Eggers manages to turn the trope of the ailing middle-aged male seeking a financial comeback on its head, producing an unforgettable read (McSweeney's Publishing)
Genre: Fiction; Author: Dave Eggers
Posted July 6 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
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