A bestselling dystopian novel that tackles surveillance, privacy and the frightening intrusions of technology in our lives—a “compulsively readable parable for the 21st century” (Vanity Fair).
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.
As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO.
Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.
What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It isn’t just Big Brother that’s watching in this unnervingly prescient cautionary tale—it’s everyone. Dave Eggers’ gripping fable imagines a society obsessed with social media, where privacy is as outdated as MySpace and shares, likes, and emojis are the ultimate currency. The Circle’s soulless near-future is painted so vividly and plausibly that it almost makes us want to go offline for good.
When 20-something Mae Holland is recruited to work at the Circle, a sort of social network on steroids that consolidates its users' various online identities (personal e-mail, social media, financial services), she's thrilled at the company's grand modernity and cutting-edge aesthetic. She delights in the Circle's exuberance and the grand fetes it throws. But as her role in the company becomes increasingly public, she becomes increasingly wary of the Circle's role in the lives of Americans. An encounter with Kalden, a shadowy figure who issues ominous pronouncements about the Circle's contribution to a dystopia, further dampens Mae's enthusiasm. Dion Graham provides inventive narration in this audio edition capturing Mae's breathless enthusiasm at landing the job. Graham also cleanly differentiates between characters, and provides them with simple but unique voices. Despite the longtime audio partnership between Graham and Eggers the former read A Hologram for the King and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius the narrator seems an odd choice for this title given its female protagonist. Graham has a deep, masculine voice and at times it can be incongruous to hear him approximate the gasps and anxieties of a young woman. A Knopf hardcover.
Interesting speculation on a scary future
The Circle describes a world where privacy is steadily diminished by the constantly expanding, well intentioned, increases in use of technlogy for increasing social interaction.
As literature, it's weak on characters and the plotting is leaden, but it's a fascinating excursion into a technologically plausible future.
So the book is kind of slow, characters are shallow and you can pretty much predict everything that is going to happen. Normally I would give a book like this 3 stars. However, what I loved about this book is how it made me think of social media. It's pretty scary to think that we are nearly at the point of what this book is suggesting. Makes me think twice before I post anything anymore.
Fun dystopian Silicon Valley adventure.
As a Silicon Valley employee at one of the major tech companies that this novel was clearly based on, this fantastical premise hits pretty close to home... but in a fun way. Technology ethics in our society are even more relevant today than when this book was published. The story gets a bit bogged down in the procedural details at times, but quickly redirects to fast paced scenes that unravel quickly.