Book Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

“ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN,” is a concept introduced and employed early on at The Circle, a not that futuristic technology mogul that Dave Egger’s new novel is based upon. Mae, a young twenty something, recently graduated and ready to leave her routine job and condescending supervisor at the public utility, begins working there and leads us through this new era as she adapts to it herself.

The story hinges on a controversial topic that technology has placed at the forefront of real life society: privacy, in lieu of progress in healthcare, security, entertainment, culture, etc. There are her robotic coworkers, reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World principals with their collective mindset and enthusiastic acquiesence. Then there’s her family, and ex-boyfriend Mercer, representing the past and a moral questioning of the invasive “improvements” The Circle champions. The two pivotal characters are Mae’s best friend Annie, who helps her land the job at The Circle as one of their top supervisors, and Kalden, a mysterious love interest who see-saws with Mae’s mind and emotions.

A fine layer of colloquialism helps move things along, despite the heavy, poignant subject matter. I found myself willfully speed reading certain sections that hit an uncomfortably close nerve (e.g. when a friend of mine screenshotted their location to my phone so I could find them while reading on the train), and constantly referring to “this book I’m in the middle of,” in conversations about new apps coming out. As expected, politics and government are swept into the plot, and that’s when what seems obviously unreasonable begins to reveal some holes in the logistical stonework. All of it culminates in the final assignment Mae takes on, and I found myself wondering: this is possible, but is it possible? Would we do it?

The closing chapter is a cliff hanger, and with such pertinent themes throughout the novel, your left wanting to know the hyperbolic end to these hyperbolic means, just in case…

I’d give it a 3/5 stars. Here’s what some others have to say

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