I truly wanted to enjoy A Hologram For the King; I had high expectations. The book is beautiful to behold, and the title itself is a bit titilating - Yay! There's going to be a Hologram! And a King! Plus, it's Dave Eggers, for chrissake. And I love Dave Eggers, don't I?
But this story of a bland white male who, while in Saudi Arabia trying to lift himself and his family from the jaws of bankruptcy, who does little but drink in his hotel room, letting down his hotshot IT team, letting down his daughter, letting down the other women who might love him. He's letting me down too.
And where's the Saudi Arabia in this novel? LET ME OUT OF YOUR HOTEL ROOM ALAN CLAY! And these other characters - the young hotshots that Alan is purportedly leading in this venture - are mere sketches of their possible selves. The only interesting character is Yousef, Clay's cab driver, who spent a year of college in Alabama and who checks his car's wiring for explosives each day, in fear that someone is trying to kill him.
I think I love the idea of Dave Eggers. I certainly love his work with McSweeney's, 826 Valencia, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading series. I loved What is the What, but largely for its historical and social content. So perhaps I love Dave Eggers as an activist; perhaps I love him as a leader of social reform; and perhaps I need to stop expecting so much from his novels.