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The circle : a novel / Dave Eggers.
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- Publication Information:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 
- Publication Date:2013
- Physical Description:491 pages ; 23 cm
- Publication Type:Book
- Document Type:Novels
- Subject Terms:FICTION / Literary; FICTION / Technological; Memory -- Fiction; Privacy -- Fiction; Social media -- Fiction; Internet industry -- Fiction; Humorous fiction; Satire
- Online Access:http://9780385351393.jpg/; Cover image
Booklist Reviews 2013 October #2
*Starred Review* Most of us imagine totalitarianism as something imposed upon us—but what if we're complicit in our own oppression? That's the scenario in Eggers' ambitious, terrifying, and eerily plausible new novel. When Mae gets a job at the Circle, a Bay Area tech company that's cornered the world market on social media and e-commerce, she's elated, and not just because of the platinum health-care package. The gleaming campus is a wonder, and it seems as though there isn't anything the company can't do (and won't try). But she soon learns that participation in social media is mandatory, not voluntary, and that could soon apply to the general population as well. For a monopoly, it's a short step from sharing to surveillance, to a world without privacy. This isn't a perfect book—the good guys lecture true-believer Mae, and a key metaphor is laboriously explained—but it's brave and important and will draw comparisons to Brave New World and 1984. Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information, and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life. But perhaps most chilling of all is his notion that our ultimate undoing could be something so petty as our desperate desire for affirmation. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Eggers' reputation as a novelist continues to grow. Expect this title to be talked about, as it has an announced first printing of 200,000 and the New York Times Magazine has first serial rights. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
PW Reviews 2013 September #3
The latest offering from McSweeney's founder Eggers (A Hologram for the King) is a stunning work of terrifying plausibility, a cautionary tale of subversive power in the digital age suavely packaged as a Silicon Valley social satire. Set in the near future, it examines the inner workings of the Circle, an internet company that is both spiritual and literal successor to Facebook, Google, Twitter and more, as seen through the eyes of Mae Holland, a new hire who starts in customer service. As Mae is absorbed into the Circle's increasingly demanding multi- and social media experience, she plays an ever more pivotal role in the company's plans, which include preventing child abductions through microchips, reducing crime through omnipresent surveillance, and eliminating political corruption through transparency courtesy of personal cameras. Soon, she's not alone in asking what it will mean to "complete the Circle" as its ultimate goal comes into view; even her closest friends and family suspect the Circle is going too far in its desire to make the world a better, safer, more honest place. Eggers presents a Swiftian scenario so absurd in its logic and compelling in its motives that the worst thing possible will be for people to miss the joke. The plot moves at a casual, yet inexorable pace, sneaking up on the reader before delivering its warnings of the future, a worthy and entertaining read despite its slow burn. Agent: Andrew Wylie, The Wylie Agency. (Oct.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
Staff Review - Would Recommend
The Circle is one of those dystopian works of fiction that feels uncomfortably familiar. The kind of familiar that makes you wonder whether it’s the reality we’re heading toward. Mae is a young college graduate who has recently been hired by a company called The Circle (think Google+Apple). Her friend Annie already works there and helped land her the position. Mae is quickly drawn into life on “the campus” (as they call their headquarters), seemingly unquestioningly accepting everything the company and The Three Wise Men (the company founders) say and do. Mae’s family and only outside friend are quickly alienated by her rapid ascension in The Cult of The Circle, and despite their desperate pleas, she views them as dinosaurs, unwilling or unable to keep up with the wave of the future. I found Mae supremely unlikeable, and I had a hard time accepting her acceptance of The Circle so wholly without a sliver of a doubt. Beyond her sporadic panic attacks, Mae doesn’t seem to ever have any questions about the legitimacy or morality of The Circle, its products, its actions, or its leaders. She’s an empty, passive, shell, there for the company to fill with its futuristic propaganda. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I simply have reservations about how well-rounded (or not), the protagonist is.
The Circle as a book had a lot going for it early on and through the middle but then turned real bad at the end. It's clear that the fictional Circle company is Facebook (FB is featured in the book saying that The Circle bought it) and that the end of privacy is upon us. There are voices, even the Circle's top programmer(s) who are against this shift to a "transparent" future. All David Eggers did was make the book, The Boy Kings into a fictional piece. I plan on seeing the movie with Emma Watson but I'm no longer expecting much from it. A really good thing about the book though is how fast you read through it. It's a real page turner.
This 491 page novel could have been a short story. The main character is some naive, idiotic caricature of a Millennial. The novel proves that old media can be as time wasting as new media. Read Mercer's arguments on pages,130, 258, 366, 430 and 454, hardcover,to get the point of the novel and save yourself the slog.
Modern Fahrenheit 451
The Circle could be replaced with any of the names of our modern-day big IT businesses. Author, Dave Eggers raises the question: how far will we go to eliminate (either intentionally or unintentionally) our privacy. The story discusses economics, social media, privacy, politics, transparency, insurance, worldwide health concerns, consumer preferences, family, friendships, establishing a career, the increasingly smaller world and, in a very underlying way, Christianity. The main character, Mae Holland, starts at the Circle as a young customer service representative and through, what some could consider brainwashing and others intellectual growth, becomes a worldwide sensation. This story argues both sides of the online privacy debate and leaves the reader questioning his or her beliefs (is it better to remain private or does the world deserve to know what you know?). A true modern day mystery and a debate that humanity should take very seriously. Although nearly 500 pages, I could not put this book down (and wish there was more to read).
Interesting book in terms of the concept of privacy and how people see it potentially affecting our lives in the future. On the other hand, I found the protagonist annoying which sometimes made it hard to continue reading.
hat 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.
hpl summer reading
As our world of technology expands, Egger's novel explores the extremes that could happen as data is collected on our personal lives.
1984 Revisited with a Twist
This novel is Egger's 2014 answer to George Orwell's Ninteen Eighty-Four with the use of current technology. The banality of so much of Twitter's and Facebook's trivial commentary is stretched to its potential limits as three "Wise Men" attempt to take over commerce, politics, and all activities in every individual's personal life. I found the book a quick read, although I never did understand the black tear that Mae occasionally felt. The concept of this novel is as plausible as Orwell’s novel and every bit as frightening.
A critical read for us all
I found this book to be one of the more terrifying books I’ve read this year, or any year, and I strongly urge everyone to read and discuss this book. The Circle is far from a literary masterpiece, but I believe it should be mandatory reading nonetheless. Mae is a 20-something in a dead-end job but with a close childhood friend who has made it into the upper echelons of The Circle, the world’s largest and most powerful internet company which operates out of a luxurious and futuristic campus in California. Mae is brought on board through Annie, and rapidly rises in the ranks due to her willingness to re-shape her life to meet the needs of The Circle and to guarantee that her very ill father continues to get the medical care he needs courtesy of The Circle She soon learns that the “Three Wise Men” who founded the Circle have an ultimate goal: to “complete” the Circle, which –stripped of the double-speak and mystery—translates to the social control of every living being on the planet under The Circle’s mantra of “democracy” and “transparency.” Every man, woman and child will ultimately wear a camera and/or a chip monitored by The Circle, so that their every movement can be observed at any time. Political and social leaders will become “transparent,” voting mandatory, extracurricular activities and opinions molded and refined, and so forth. This will end crime, say the Three Wise Men and their acolytes like Mae, while preventing disease, abuse, and corruption and fostering democracy, health, sharing, contentment. Mae finds herself spending all of her days tweeting and posting and texting, taking thousands of surveys, signing umpteen digital petitions, growing her friends network, defining her product preferences, and spouting Circle mantra to her ever-expanding global audience as she is catapulted into the role of visible face of The Circle to an outside world rapidly becoming absorbed by The Circle. Her parents and former boyfriend are horrified by the loss of privacy and individuality that association with Mae and The Circle demands, but all those who warn against the accruing power of The Circle are met with internet-generated smear campaigns, scandals –and worse. I will admit that the encroachment of social media into every aspect of our lives and the way it has stupefied people—especially the younger generations—has me frightened for our future, but Eggers has done us all a tremendous service by taking us the next not-too-distant step into the world of The Circle, with all its Brave New World/1984-style implications.