By Dave Eggers

In a emerging Saudi Arabian urban, faraway from weary, recession-scarred the United States, a suffering businessman pursues a last-ditch try and stave off foreclosures, pay his daughter’s collage institution, and at last do anything nice. In A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the globe to teach how one guy fights to carry himself and his splintering kin jointly within the face of the worldwide economy’s gale-force winds. This taut, richly layered, and elegiac novel is a strong evocation of our modern second — and a relocating tale of ways we came.

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When they kissed she immediately felt his tongue, tensed and strong, pushing past her teeth, like some bully shouldering his way into a room. Entering her. Her own tongue folded and recoiled in automatic distaste, making even more space for Edward. He knew well enough she did not like this kind of kissing, and he had never before been so assertive. With his lips clamped firmly onto hers, he probed the fleshy floor of her mouth, then moved around inside the teeth of her lower jaw to the empty place where three years ago a wisdom tooth had crookedly grown until removed under general anesthesia.

He too was a little pink about the face. His napkin clung to his waist for a moment, hanging absurdly, like a loincloth, and then wafted to the floor in slow motion. There was nothing she could do, beyond fainting, and she was hopeless at acting. She stood and took his hand, certain that her own returning smile was rigidly unconvincing. It would not have helped her to know that Edward in his dreamlike state had never seen her looking lovelier. Something about her arms, he remembered thinking later, slender and vulnerable, and soon to be looped adoringly around his neck.

Later, this was what intrigued them most—how easily the encounter might not have happened. For Edward, this particular day could have passed like most others—a retreat to the end of the narrow garden to sit on a mossy bench in the shade of a giant elm, reading and staying out of his mother’s reach. Fifty yards away, her face, pale and indistinct, like one of her watercolors, would be at the kitchen or sitting-room window for twenty minutes at a stretch, watching him steadily. He tried to ignore her, but her gaze was like the touch of her hand on his back or his shoulder.

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A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers


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