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 that deal with Islam, as well as other discussion posts related to the topics that come out of these books. I will be writing about both fiction and non-fiction books, and from a variety of sources and perspectives. This page is a tentative schedule of posts and reviews for Ramadan 2013. I’ll be updating this list as the month goes along, linking to posts as they go live and updating the plan if books or discussions are added, subtracted, or moved around in the schedule. Friday, July 12, 2013 Review – Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson Monday, July 15th, 2013 Review – The Crisis of Zionism by Peter Beinart Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 Review – A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez Monday, July 29th, 2013 Review – A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 Review – The Taqwacores by Michael Muhammad Knight Friday, August 2nd, 2013 Review – The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie