A Hologram for the King (2012), by Dave Eggers, is a book that is specifically about where we (America) are as a nation in the world. Alan Clay is a man at the end of his rope in debt, unable to pay his daughter’s tuition, and almost unemployable. He is sent to Saudi Arabia to make a make or break presentation for King. There are echoes of a modern day version of Willy Loman at play here. There are some contrivances in the book in which would usually upset the rhythm of the book for me due to the obviousness of them: Clay is a former Schwinn employee who now works in the amorphous IT sector—we used to build things and now we create services; the two anecdotes in which he builds a wall, and other s of this variety. But what saves it from the ripped from the headlines of the decline of American capitalism and the rise of China and Middle Eastern states are the great characterizations of Alan and the people he meets, his driver Yousef, and the doctor with whom he has a brief affair, among others. But Eggers also creates realistic everyday dialogue and gives great details about Saudi Arabia, the IT industry, and Clay’s background that all of these things come alive in great detail. To me, this seems a hundred times more realistic and artful than Jonathan Franzen's attempt to do the same thing with Freedom. It is readable and the read is to get caught up in the flow of the story that has many digressions and flashbacks into Clay’s past that help explain where he is in the story. It is another fine performance form Eggers.