The one major positive thing that I can say for this book is that it’s well-written. It’s well-researched, well-planned out, and makes a very large effort to be well-balanced.
I can definitely tell that this book was written to shock people. The copy that I picked up in Beirut actually turns out to be a bit censored, and when I looked up what had been taken out online, it was often (but not always) something completely gratuitous and offensive.
This an altogether more personal story set in Saudi Arabia than any other I’ve read. And while it regularly touches on the social and religious issues of the country, the strength of A Hologram for the King is really in the depth of the main character and the way that he struggles with his demons.
This is the first book I’ve ever read that combines both the modern world and the world of the djinn. Books about supernatural beings have been popular for who knows how long, but I’ve never come across one that takes Islamic folklore as its basis. You know, aside from the movie of Aladdin. And I’ve read another of Wilson’s books, The Butterfly Mosque, but it’s non-fiction … so I knew that I liked her writing, but I wasn’t sure if I’d want to read a novel. Sometimes people don’t cross over very well, yanno?
During the month of Ramadan (July 10 – August 8), I am going to be posting daily reviews of books…