Study Guide

A Hologram for the King Chapter 12

By Dave Eggers

Chapter 12

  • Alan learns that his contact at KAEC, Karim, won't be able to make their meeting that day. This is bad, bad news.
  • He and his crew take the shuttle back to the hotel in Jeddah. But once there, Alan has nothing to do: no company, no alcohol, and nowhere to go.
  • The news on TV is so depressing (BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico) that he can't take it.
  • He recalls Joe Trivole's lessons in selling, which have guided him through his professional life.
  • Using Joe's four-pronged scheme, Alan succeeded in sales. His career had been nothing but an upward arc for a long time.
  • After seeing more depressing news (last manned shuttle flight for NASA), Alan calls his dad.
  • This doesn't cheer him up, since Papa Ron seems to show his love by fighting with Alan.
  • We get the sense that Dad's a Baby Boomer who benefitted from all the good things in business (unions, pensions, U.S. manufacturing jobs) before everything collapsed.
  • He can't understand Alan's failures or point-of-view. He certainly can't understand why Alan helped Schwinn to move jobs overseas.
  • To no one's surprise, the phone convo between dad and son doesn't go well. Ron insists on poking Alan's tender spots: Did he know that a new bridge in California is being made in China?
  • Ron directly blames all shifting of jobs overseas on Alan.
  • Alan hangs up on his ranting father.

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