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jbradway

jbradway

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A Hologram for the King

A Hologram for the King - Dave Eggers Usually I'll let a book simmer in my head for a few hours to a couple of days before I handle a review on it, but I finished this one about 5 minutes ago. Calling it 3 stars and I'm unlikely to need to revise.A lot happens in A Hologram for the King. But not much happens in a Hologram for a King. As its protagonist, Alan Clay, struggles to be a man of consequence there's a tremendous amount of pondering and assessment. As most of the substance of the novel is the firing of synapses, triggered by small events, the novel can touch on pretty heavy late-middle-aged themes. The floundering (and foundering) fatherhood theme is personally relevant. But in the mix you'll also find thoughts on globalism, capitalism, mortality, friendship, and love (or, at least, sex).Despite all the heavy thinking and even some strong emotional content, the novel is all loose strings. It's as if Eggers made a list of 8 topics on which to ruminate and stuffed them in the head of a character to play out over the space of a few weeks. Just throw a dart at the timeline of his life and watch these thoughts naturally flow in response to events and when time is up, we'll stop reading. I'm reminded a bit of Teju Cole's Open City, which seemed arc-less and ponderous, but in which something is actually revealed. Cole's novel becomes a story of consequence as a result. Eggers' story of a character striving to be a man of consequence falls short for the man and the novel.