Operating [with a third-person perspective] Eggers proves it is not, in fact, a handicap at all. Alan feels like Eggers’s most fully-realized character to date ... If A Hologram for the King merely showed us this [setting within the context of conducting business] it would be a stylish, good book. But narrating in discrete paragraphs, some as finely spun as prose poems, Eggers drags three layers of story forward ... The true genius of this book is that as we careen toward its final pages, these stories all collapse into one complex tale: the point at which a man’s need for love from home and his need to be effective in business meet ... in A Hologram for the King, Eggers has given us a sad and beautiful story...
Hologram flashes past in an appropriately quick series of brief, displacing passages with plenty of space around them for us to feel the vacancy and nowhereness ... Scene after scene is so clear and precise... that it’s easy to overlook just how strong and well wrought the writing is ... Eggers’s command of this middle-management landscape is so sure — and his interest in the battle between humanity and technology so insistent — that his book might almost be a DeLillo novel written for the iPhone Generation, though delivered by DeLillo’s more openhearted and Midwestern nephew. Eggers’s inhabiting of the terms and tics of a distinctly American consciousness is as remarkable as, in earlier books, his channeling of Sudanese and Syrian sensibilities ... But the strength of all [Eggers'] work comes from his sense of loss and pain, mixed with his decidedly American wish to try to bring his orphaned characters to a provisional shelter ... In the end, what makes A Hologram for the King is the conviction with which Eggers plunges into the kind of regular working American we don’t see enough in contemporary fiction, and gives voice and heft to Alan’s struggles in an information economy in which he has no information and there’s not much of an economy.
The reader soon adjusts to the leisurely, almost desultory pace of the story, to the relative austerity of the prose. Sometimes Eggers offers neat capsule vignettes ... At other times Eggers grows sententious, perhaps deliberately in Alan’s letters to Kit, but apparently without irony in several vaguely philosophical passages ... A diverting, well-written novel...
... a sober, sincere, old-school novel with big social themes ... The saving grace is that Eggers' subject is so timely and important, and the way he dramatises it so apt and amusing ... Though Eggers deserves credit for presenting a nuanced and sympathetic view of the kingdom, the novel's Saudi Arabians are not always successful ... More generally, the weightlessness and emptiness, though deliberate, sometimes threaten to engulf the novel – especially since Eggers is temperamentally anything but a minimalist ... Nevertheless, this is a clever, likeable and very entertaining novel. A Hologram for the King treads lightly and elegantly, considering its weighty subject matter: globalisation and its discontents, the downsizing and outsourcing of the American dream, real people lost in an increasingly virtual world.
Dave Eggers' new novel, A Hologram for the King, is remarkably fascinating for a book about people doing nothing in the middle of nowhere ... The novel is paradoxically suspenseful, but it's also rich in character and in Eggers' evocative writing about place ... Alan is an Everyman, a Loman, a Gogo who can't, a hollow hologram, but he's also a strikingly real man whose strange story is all too familiar. A Hologram for the King, as far from home as it might seem, is an acute slice of American life.
In A Hologram for the King, Eggers returns to his strength: quick-to-the-point fiction ... In this novel, he's as interested in explaining the grim facts of a struggling economy as he is in telling a story of a failing man reaching to recover his self-respect. Eggers does well on both counts, even if Alan Clay isn't the icon that Willy Loman has been.
Dave Eggers' new novel hits you with prose as stark and as luminous as its Saudi Arabian setting ... while his seventh book exhibits his versatility again, it should confirm Eggers' position among America's leading contemporary writers.
[Eggers] masters the hurry-up-and-wait rhythm of Alan’s visit, accelerating the prose when the king’s arrival seems imminent then slackening it again. If anything, the novel’s flaws seem to be products of too much tightening: An incident involving a death back home feels clipped and some passages are reduced to fablelike simplicity. Even so, Eggers’ fiction has evolved in the past decade. This book is firm proof that social concerns can make for resonant storytelling.