Dave Eggers’ books include, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002), Zeitoun (2009), and A Hologram For The King.
From his June 2012 Q & A with Stephen Elliott at The Rumpus:
The Rumpus: A Hologram for The King is your first imagined-from-scratch book in a while. In a lot of ways it seems like a real departure from the last book we talked about, Zeitoun. So I guess the question would be, Why a novel set in Saudi Arabia?Read about the book Eggers wishes he'd written.
Dave Eggers: Well, about four years ago I had one of those moments where you think, Huh, that’s an interesting framework for a novel. My brother-in-law had just been to Saudi Arabia with his company, and he told me about these cities that King Abdullah is trying to construct from scratch, these centers of education and manufacturing and other catalysts for a post-oil economy. I was fascinated by the idea of American businesspeople coming to these nascent cities in the desert, trying to get in on the ground floor. That was the start of it at least, and it gelled with some ideas I was having about this aging businessman who’s painted himself into a corner.
Rumpus: That’s your protagonist, Alan Clay. He’s middle-aged, with a background in sales, management and cost cutting, but he’s been downsized himself, and is having a hard time getting work. He’s fifty-four years old and believes that no one is interested in his services anymore. Though he also presents himself as an optimist.
Eggers: I think he presents himself as an optimist because optimism is...[read on]