What is the summary for A Hologram for the King?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The full title of this book is A Hologram for the King:  A Novel is primarily a business novel, and is about Alan Clay and his adventures of business in Saudi Arabia.

Clay used to be one of the higher-up at the Schwinn bicycle company.  He tried to create his own bike business and failed miserable.  Thinking he was destined to simply live a humdrum life by being a consultant, Alan Clay jumps at the chance to meet King Abdulla's nephew and suggest an IT company for Abdulla's "King Abdullah Economic City," Saudi Arabia's newest venture.

Clay soon become disillusioned, however, when he notes the differences in business between Saudi Arabia and his native United States.  Apparently, and in a segment of the novel that is quite Existentialist in nature, it's not easy to get an audience with the king.  Therefore, much of the book is Clay waiting in his hotel room.  To pass the time he drinks, makes love with random European women, hunts wolves, making friends with Yousef, and examines his bodily ailments as a hypochondriac (so much that he suspects cancer).

In conclusion, it's important to note that the moment Clay is waiting for never really comes.  He is never able to make his multi-million-dollar presentation, and we get more of a hint that China is taking over and that America is destined for continual recession.  Although not as good or as intriguing as Death of a Salesman and Waiting for Godot, we can compare this book to both of them due to its absurdist nature.

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