The Circle: Book summary and reviews of The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle

By Dave Eggers

The Circle
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2013,
    504 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. [P]erhaps most chilling of all is his notion that our ultimate undoing could be something so petty as our desperate desire for affirmation." - Booklist

"Though Eggers strives for a portentous, Orwellian tone, this book mostly feels scolding, a Kurt Vonnegut novel rewritten by the Electronic Frontier Foundation." - Kirkus Reviews

"A vivid, roaring dissent to the companies that have coaxed us to disgorge every thought and action onto the Web…. Carries the potential to change how the world views its addicted, compliant thrall to all things digital. If you work in Silicon Valley, or just care about what goes on there, you need to pay attention." - The Wall Street Journal

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Dorothy L
A Good Read
This is a book that has something to say. Its message about the dangerous consequences of non-stop electronic communication, internet tracking, and loss of privacy are relevant today and have even greater implications for the future. The book kept my interest throughout, but its often lecture like tone and simplistic pronouncements kept me from giving it a 5. I also think the writing could have been better. But I would recommend it and I think it could generate a great deal of discussion for a book club.

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Author Information

Dave Eggers Author Biography

Dave Eggers was born in Boston, Massachusetts, grew up in suburban Lake Forest and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is married to the writer Vendela Vida (author of Girls on the Verge, And Now You Can Go, and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name).  They live in San Francisco with their daughter, October Adelaide Eggers Vida, born in October 2005.

Eggers began writing as a Salon.com editor and founded Might magazine, while also writing a comic strip called Smarter Feller (originally Swell, then Smart Feller) for SF Weekly. His first book was a memoir (with fictional elements), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000). It focuses on the author's struggle to raise his younger brother in San Francisco following the sudden deaths...

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