Eggers places Alan thousands of miles from home, separated from his wife, unable to speak with his father on the phone for two minutes without a fight, composing countless openings to a letter to his daughter which end balled up in the waste bin. He has a frightening growth on his neck. His life consists of endless waiting, of receptionists who will not let him speak with another person. Eggers creates a sense of place that is barren. Where most of the things that move and express are electronic.
A the end of the hall he spotted an elevator door closing. He jogged to it and thrust his hand into the gap. The doors jerked back, startled and apologetic.Here success means that Alan's will connect the king, if he ever comes, with another person who is not really there.
Everywhere, relationships no longer mattered, Alan knew this. They did not matter in American, they did not matter much of anywhere, but here, among the royals, he hoped that friendship had meaning.A Hologram for the King is a man's journey to get back in touch. To remember the value of other lives. To move from asking people's name as a sales technique, to having some sort of authentic contact with other living persons, not figments in his head. To have real encounters with real people, not build holograms for kings. It is a keenly observed book, the voice reminding me more of Didion's essays than anything else - spare writing which looks, sees, and describes. The book's effect opines, but Eggers's narrative doesn't preach. Amidst his clean prose is a message of genuine warmth.