Victor Labrada's Reviews > A Hologram for the King

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
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's review
Jun 24, 2012

it was ok
Read from June 24 to 26, 2012 — I own a copy

What do you get when you cross obvious references to "Waiting for Godot", a cop of laconic Hemingway prose, and some half-baked jokes/anecdotes that would barely make the cut on a blog? The wispy specter that is A Hologram for the King. Eggers, in a simple voice, offers the protagonist Adam Clay—a boring man of boring words, who only becomes more unlikable the more poignant he imagines his epiphanies to be. There is no plot, with an ending that would be anti-climatic if there had been a climbing motion to begin with. The exotic setting is described plainly; Clay's potentially interesting foreign companions are given boring American voices. Even the father-daughter subplot seems like a first draft idea spawned from a writers' workshop.

Eggers will get a lot of grace from his fans, and it isn't a "bad" book outright, but its current rating is influenced by McSweeney-colored glasses. Compared to the classic Graham Greene and Hemingway novels from which it finds inspiration, compared to Eggers own outstanding corpus, even compared to similar novels from Joshua Ferris and A.M. Holmes, A Hologram for the King ultimately disappoints.
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