Study Guide

A Hologram for the King Chapter 23

By Dave Eggers

Chapter 23

  • Alan's numbness continues into the weekend. He checks his voicemail and gets a few surprises.
  • First, he learns that Jim Wong (the guy he owes a ton of money) is ready to sue him.
  • Then, Kit tells him that she's found a job—who needs college anyway?
  • The final kicker? Charlie Fallon's widow calls to ask if Alan has kept any of her dead husband's letters. Of course he hasn't.
  • So Alan decides to drink. There's nothing else to do, and it's the only coping skill in his toolkit right now.
  • He reminisces about Charlie's letters, which were evidence that his friend was losing his grip on reality.
  • Alan recalls Charlie's daughter Fiona and a strange incident with a burning tree.
  • He reflects that Charlie's daughters might have been too young to lose their dad, but in reality, Charlie had done everything that a dad could do for them. He was no longer necessary.
  • Alan tries to write a letter to Kit—again. He tells her about coming home late at night in time to change her diaper when she was little just so she would know he was there.
  • Alan wants to invite Yousef to dinner, but finds out that his friend is in hiding at a cousin's house. His ex's husband is on the rampage and Yousef has to lay low.
  • Alan attempts another letter to Kit: memories of Kit being attacked by a dog and Ruby's ruthless response to the dog owner. It was a chilling experience for Alan.
  • He realizes that he hasn't answered Kit's questions about her mom—too many for him ever to answer.
  • But the liquor he's been drinking makes him feel fabulous. However, when he re-reads what he's written to Kit, he realizes that it doesn't make sense. Imagine that.
  • Alan adds an apology to Kit for his terrible business decisions (i.e. helping his company outsource all work to China).
  • Not only had Alan been absent a lot to make this offshoring possible, he'd also worked himself right out of a job.
  • He tries to praise Ruby for her strength in those years, to make Kit aware that she was the one who pulled them along when he wasn't around.
  • In his moonshine daze, Alan decides to keep poking the lump on his neck—this time with a sewing needle. Because that's a good idea.
  • He wants to test the lump. When he sees blood, he's satisfied. Nothing looks weird or infected.
  • Alan feels awesome and emboldened by the liquor. He calls Jim Wong and tells him to chill—he'll pay back everything.
  • He also calls Eric Ingvall, his boss at Reliant, and tells him that Abdullah will probably appear in the next week.
  • And although he's still soaking the hotel towels with blood from his lumpy neck, he goes to bed feeling victorious.

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