I read this novel in one day flat, which I can't remember having done in forever. I don't think that is because it's an amazing book, though I did very much like it. Mostly it's just incredibly readable: the spacing is wide and dialogue is marked by long dashes instead of small quotation marks, each chapter starts halfway down the page with a blank page facing it. Usually plot-driven books read quickly, though this isn't really that. We spend most of our time in Alan's head, as he remembers the missteps he made while encouraging American companies to move their manufacturing to Asia, or when he met his ex-wife, or composing letters to his college-aged daughter.
Alan is in Saudi Arabia with three much younger colleagues. They represent a company that is submitting a bid to do IT for a new city, one which is rising from the desert, much like Dubai. He's excited by the prospect, the effort to create something great from nothing, but he has no real place in this new world, an old-school salesmen like him. Aside from his daughter, his life is empty, he's made bad decisions, his redundancy is a direct result of his own work. I really did enjoy reading this book - something about it spoke to me - but I have a feeling either it works for you or it doesn't. I can see the sparse language and quickness of the story failing to hold some people's attention. For me, though, I continue to enjoy Eggers' fiction, and look forward to reading more of it.