The Circle by Dave Eggers
Published October 8, 2013, by Vintage.
Adult > Dystopian, Sci-Fi
The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.
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.
I’ve been meaning to read this for years and years, and I finally got the chance when I had to read an excerpt of it for my User Interface and User Experience class this past semester.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was such a fast-paced and exciting read. I think what makes it so interesting is how already deeply rooted the plot and ideas are in our current reality. The Circle is definitely a play on Google.
Not only is the story extremely interesting, but it actually turns out to be scary. The book deals with the extremes of morality and just how far tech corporations can go, and the roles they can play in our lives and minds. It deals with manipulation, relationships, and connectivity in a way that is becoming more and more relevant.
Part of what made the book so wonderful was the relatability of the main character, Mae. We see her become further and further immersed in this company and lifestyle, and we think, “that would never be me,” but through Egger’s portrayal of her, it’s easy to put ourselves in her place.
The ending actually made me gasp out loud. It was not what I was expecting in the least, and it was that ending that really scared me, and made me think about every part of the book in a different way.
If you’re interested in technology, social media, or the internet, read this book! It will give you so many ideas, new thoughts, and ways of looking at our current usage of technology.
After reading the book, I decided to give the movie a try. It’s currently available on Amazon Prime video if you want to watch it for free. Unfortunately, where the book was an eye-opening look at society and technology, the film failed immensely.
I thought it has Emma Watson and Tom Hanks! It must be great! But alas, NO. I don’t recommend the movie. The actor’s performances were fine, but the writing and plot were horrendous.
Talk about plot holes. The movie stayed mainly faithful to the book but left out major important chunks. Had I not read the book prior, I think I would have been completely lost.
Where the ending of the book was incredibly smart and chilling, the movie’s end was overly ambiguous and confusing. It lacked all the impact of the book.
So I say, skip the film and just go for the book!