Dear Great Book Guru, Sea Cliff is about to lose two of its finest citizens to Springfield, Massachusetts- Ann and Andy Weickert. After thirty years of living here and supporting countless community organizations, they are headed north . At a party in their honor last weekend at the lovely home of Charles and Elizabeth Weinstein, friends and neighbors gathered to wish them well. As often happens at Sea Cliff gatherings, the conversation turned to books. Cee Wheeler mentioned a novel she had heard reviewed on NPR- it was set in Saudi Arabia and reminded her of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" but she couldn't remember the title. Any clue? Wishing the Weickerts Well
Dear Wishing, We will all miss Ann and Andy, but I am happy to tell you that I do know the book you are interested in: A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING by Dave Eggers, a really fine choice for a cold February weekend. The hero Adam Clay is a consultant to a huge American IT company that is trying to get the contract for King Abdullah Economic City, a brutally hot, partially developed city of many contradictions. Following the precepts of salesmanship Clay has practiced for over thirty years, he is dismayed to realize they do not work in the new global economy. His product is without substance; it is an image- a hologram and he, a hollow man. Chilling for all of us is that Eggers suggests that this is America's fate also. A difficult but worthwhile read!