2012 National Book Award Finalist,
A Hologram for the King
A novel poised on the central meridian of our times. A floundering American businessman—middle management, barely middle class, middle-aged, of middling skills—travels to Saudi Arabia in a desperate attempt to solve all his problems in one dubious telecommunications coup. Eggers maintains an exquisite balance of irony, empathy, dark humor, and unexpected tenderness in this taut exploration of the ever-increasing price of ordinary survival. A book as heartbreaking as the global economy it explores with such beauty and ferocity.
About the Book
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. In A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in the face of the global economy’s gale-force winds. This taut, richly layered, and elegiac novel is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment—and a moving story of how we got here.
About the Author
Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including Zeitoun, winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. What Is the What was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France’s Prix Medici. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, which operates a secondary school in South Sudan run by Mr. Deng. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine, The Believer, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries, Wholphin, and an oral history series, Voice of Witness. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, DC. A native of Chicago, Eggers now lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.
VIDEO: Dave Eggers acceptance speech at the 2009 National Book Awards for the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community
Waiting for the King: Dave Eggers Talks About His New Novel
By JOHN WILLIAMS, The New York Times
Excerpt from the first chapter:
ALAN CLAY WOKE up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was May 30, 2010. He
had spent two days on planes to get there.
In Nairobi he had met a woman. They sat next to each other while
they waited for their flights. She was tall, curvy, with tiny gold earrings.
She had ruddy skin and a lilting voice. Alan liked her more than many
of the people in his life, people he saw every day. She said she lived in
upstate New York. Not that far away from his home in suburban Boston.
If he had courage he would have found a way to spend more time
with her. But instead he got on his flight and he flew to Riyadh and
then to Jeddah. A man picked him up at the airport and drove him to
With a click, Alan entered his room at the Hilton at 1:12 a.m. He
quickly prepared to go to bed. He needed to sleep. He had to travel an
hour north at seven for an eight o’clock arrival at the King Abdullah
Economic City. There he and his team would set up a holographic teleconference
system and would wait to present it to King Abdullah himself.
If Abdullah was impressed, he would award the IT contract for the
entire city to Reliant, and Alan’s commission, in the mid-six figures,
would fix everything that ailed him.
So he needed to feel rested. To feel prepared. But instead he had
spent four hours in bed not sleeping.
He thought of his daughter Kit, who was in college, a very good
and expensive college. He did not have the money to pay her tuition for
the fall. He could not pay her tuition because he had made a series of
foolish decisions in his life. He had not planned well. He had not had
courage when he needed it.