Dave Eggers writes the Great American Novel for a not-so-great America
Published: September 5, 2012
Hologram is not just a book of regret and emptiness. It strikes a new note for Eggers with its pervading sense of gallows humor. Alan loves corny old jokes with setups and punch lines, but they inevitably fall flat. Early in the novel, he meets a man in a situation similar to his own. The man is drunk, giving up and retiring to France. He laments, "It's the black humor that really does it ... that dark sarcasm. It's the killer, I swear to God. That's the sign you're down and can't get up!"
Eggers tells us that Alan disagrees. He does not believe this. And it seems that Eggers, known by his publishing (McSweeney's and The Believer) and educational projects (826 Valencia) as hopeful and serious, doesn't agree either. Though lacking in sarcasm, A Hologram for the King suggests that the only hope for our declining nation may lie in dark gallows humor and the literature that carries it.
Baynard Woods writes for City Paper in Baltimore, where this review originally appeared. Send comments to email@example.com.
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