Last year, the San Francisco-based author Dave Eggers published his book, A Hologram for the King, a vision of Saudi Arabia where the Western world of holograms and the Internet comes up against the hard realities of today’s Saudi Arabia. Eggers, whose novel was nominated for a National Book Award, spent weeks in the Kingdom researching, meeting an extraordinary Saudi filmmaker whose first feature, Wadjda, premiered at the Venice Film Festival to considerable acclaim, and two Saudis who inspired key characters. World Policy Journal assembled Haifaa al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female film director; Mamdouh al-Harthy, a brilliant journalist and documentary producer, cast in Hologram as a driver who leads the narrator into the depths of the Saudi mind and spirit; and Hasan Hatrash, journalist, filmmaker, and muscian, with a similar role in the novel, who in real life produced...

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