A Hologram For Ruination


I picked it cuz I liked the cover...

I picked it cuz I liked the cover…

I am informed by my sister that there are three reasons that someone picks up a book:

  • Because they recognize the Title
  • Because they recognize the Author
  • Because they are interested in the Subject.

When I happened upon the book “A Hologram For The King” I picked it up because I liked the cover. It looked like one of those old books from the turn of the last century with a textured cover and gold lettering on the title. The pages were made of heavy, cream colored paper. The blurb on the back said it was something about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. That seemed good enough for me.

It turns out that I ought to have recognized the author, David Eggars. Several years ago I read his earlier book “A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius” but I didn’t like it, so it’s probably good that I didn’t recognize his name or I wouldn’t have given “A Hologram for the King” a chance.

The Beer: Ruination IPA by Stone Brewing Company

The Book: “A Hologram For The King” by David Eggars

The Blog:

It was seven thirty when Alan figured it was time to knock himself out. He’d gotten back to the Hilton at six, had eaten, and now was ready to sleep for half a day. He opened the brown bottle. The smell was hoppy, bitter. He took a sip. A citrusy bitterness overtook his mouth, blasted his palate and tongue. Hanne had set him up. Was she trying to kill him?

He called her. 

-What are you trying to do to me?
-Who’s this?
-Alan. The guy you’re trying to kill.
-Alan! What are you talking about?
-Is this gasoline?

Her voice was impatient. -Alan, that stuff isn’t legal here. So you shouldn’t call me about it on the hotel phone. The people who do well in Saudi have learned to be careful, you know, avoid unnecessary risks.

-So it’s not gasoline? Or poison?
-No. It’s an IPA made with an extra helping of malt, and a lot more hops. And then some more. And then even more. 

Alan sniffed the top of the bottle.

-It’s a liquid poem to the glory of the hop.
-Sorry I doubted you.
-It’s okay. It’s an indelicate jewel.
-I think I just need to sleep.
-Have a couple swigs and you’ll sleep.

He hung up the phone and took another sip. His body shook. Every drop ruined his sense of taste, but once it reached his stomach there was a warmth that redeemed the pain. 

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 3, 2013.

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