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Sad and beautiful. Eggers captures the pain, fear and insecurity of a maturing, outsourced economy and an aging, disappointed businessman. Set in the KSA, this novel reminded me of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot' and Miller's 'Death of a Salesman' if both had been written by a Hemingway or Mailer. 'Hologram for the King' stands as a subtle paean to the emptiness, failure, loneliness, and slow economic decay (and death) we ALL experience eventually. The best parts of this novel, for me, were the interactions Alan (the protagonist) has with his Saudi driver and his female doctor. Alan's experiences with the foreign and the exotic other illuminate just how similar we are, and how absurd our self-made mental prisons appear to those we interact with. But still -- we can't help but wait for the King and hope.
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Narrator Dion Graham makes this an enjoyable read, combined with the all-too-human failings of the main character Alan. He has loser and winner characteristics that make him likable. Combine that with the sheer unfamiliarity of Saudi Arabia, deftly portrayed through Alan's reactions and thoughts, and I got something out of the ordinary that I hadn't expected. I tend to listen to books on dog walks, and I can tell you the dog got a lot of exercise in the two days it took me to listen to this. So perhaps it can be said that "I couldn't put it down." I plan on reading more Dave Eggers books as a result.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful