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The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle (2013)

by Dave Eggers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2103391,916 (3.38)10 / 209
"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"--… (more)
Recently added byJimHurc, private library, Europa_Erupts, j_tuffi, KLCardenas, carlypancakes, Aaron.Cohen, erinrita, jwkennedy
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
  1. 70
    1984 by George Orwell (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Circle could easily have ended with the line, "Mae loved Big Brother."
  2. 61
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die totale Überwachung: einmal unfreiwillig, das andere Mal völlig freiwillig
  3. 10
    The Language of the Third Reich: LTI -- Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist's Notebook by Victor Klemperer (Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Voor de opmerkelijke overeenkomst tussen de kretologie van de IT-wereld en de retoriek van het Derde Rijk
  4. 21
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: Similar content and themes
  5. 10
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (BeckyJG)
  6. 10
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: The insidiousness of the internet, corporations and being constantly online.
  7. 00
    NSA - Nationales Sicherheits-Amt: Roman by Andreas Eschbach (Florian_Brennstoff)
    Florian_Brennstoff: Dataism becoming Totalitarism and vice versa. The Circle adresses the totalitarian threat, rising from a corporation that openly promotes total transparency. NSA shows what happened when a totalitarian regime gets hold of the vital data of all the citizens.… (more)
  8. 11
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
  9. 00
    Blind Faith by Ben Elton (isabelx)
    isabelx: both are set in societies where privacy is becoming a thing of the past

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English (319)  Dutch (8)  German (6)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  All languages (341)
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
Oddities in this lousy book:

1) There are enough races at a typical college cross-country meet that an athlete would forget which one she's supposed to run in. (p. 14)
2) Women wear skirts in a building with glass floors. (pp. 15, 147)
3) A multibillionaire's personal library of 10,000 books is thought to be astoundingly large. (p. 26)
4) No one sees surveillance devices the size of very large thumbs. (pp. 62, 63)
5) An extremely innovative and inexpensive electronic device is going to market in a batch of only one million. (pp. 63, 68)
6) One of the rare times that the narrator chooses to give a detailed description is to tell us that a harbor seal's head is "rounded, grey, with the glossy sheen of polished marble". (p. 80)
7) It seems to be suggested that the U.S. has twelve thousand abductions per year in which a child is in serious peril. (p. 88)
8) A glass wall is used to provide a blank background for a visual display. (p. 145)
9) Foster kids don't know the addresses of the houses they live in. (p. 200)
10) In a book with generally basic vocabulary, "dissemble" is twice used in its archaic, obsolete sense (OED) of "disassemble". (pp. 237, 400.)
11) Gays are thought to account for at least ten percent of the population. (p. 284)
12) Creatures brought back from the Marianas Trench are kept in an unpressurized aquarium. (pp. 307, 315)
13) An object is described as "perfectly translucent". (p. 345)
14) Smallpox is still in the wild. (p. 374)
15) A camera is, in one place, described as giving worldwide viewers a panoramic view of its surrounding, while in another place it is described as allowing them to see only straight ahead. (pp. 308, 352)
16) Ten-pound tuna are considered large. (p. 473) ( )
  cpg | May 30, 2020 |
Reread for my "Media and the Individual in Society" class.

I already disliked this book the first time I read this nearly four years ago. But having now reread it, I can say with confidence that this is among the top five worst books I've ever read. I wanted to throw this book against a wall on every single page.

Not only is it at least 150 pages too long, but the pacing is bad, and the plot is shaky at best. There are so many bad narrative choices in this and while I don't have the time or energy to go into all of them, I need to mention at least the most glaring ones that bothered me the most: Eggers skips over every single potentially interesting scene and confronts us with the aftermath, which is just lazy. We are constantly told that Mae has feelings but those feelings somehow never translate to the reader? The relationships are ridiculous as well - apparently Annie and Mae are "best friends, like sisters" but I don't think there was even a single instance confirming this statement. Mae is unable to string more than two consecutive, coherent thoughts together - being in her head is both boring and frustrating.

The one good thing that can be said about this book is that it triggers an interesting discussion and since I read it for class, I guess that means it has fulfilled its purpose. It was still a waste of time - 300 pages would've done the job. I'm so relieved this ordeal is over.


Original rating: 2 stars.
( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
***I still hate this book but I wanted to mention that I have had several occasions to shout "THE CIRCLE WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A MANUAL!!" at tech news this year. So it's got realism going for it. Horrible, horrible, uncanny realism.***

This book is clearly important, given the times we live in today, but holy fuck did I hate it. The characters are flatly irritating, and the writing is embarrassingly bad. I'm almost starting to wonder if I accidentally ended up with a pre-publication copy because of the number of grammatical errors. And not stylistic ones, lazy ones. Yikes. Here is just one example: there are a Book II and a Book III, but no Book I. If anyone can explain to me how that's artistic and not sloppy, I would be happy to hear it.
To be fair, there are a lot of intelligent ideas and social critiques embedded in the story, and I have to give credit to the author for how strongly affected I am, even if the emotions are all negative. That takes skill.
But really, fuck this awful book. I am SO glad to be done with it. ( )
  lightkensei | May 17, 2020 |
Weirdly conscious of the fact that my first act after reading The Circle was to log on to a social network and rate it. Which I suppose is the point. ( )
  DerekCaelin | May 5, 2020 |
The circle, Dave Eggers

This is my very first Dave Eggers novel. As you have most likely read from other reviews, it deals with how society is changing today, into something all-invasive, all-knowing, all-seeing, and VERY realistic. The lead character, Mae Holland, is young, naive, and incredibly malleable. Also very self-doubting, desperate for approval, and possibly skewed. Even though her desperate need for validation constantly annoyed me, I still kind of liked reading about her. None of the other characters were very fleshed out, for me.

The big problem with The Circle is that the main character is completely flat. I didn’t connect or understand her, her connections with other characters or her motivations. In a digital, dynamic world, Mae seemed static. She speaks mostly in responses to questions. Do you understand this, Mae? “I do.” Does this make sense, Mae? “It does.” It’s a stretch, but I could excuse this as Eggers’ interesting way to show how submissive we become next to what we perceive as Immense World Power. But honestly, I hesitate to give the book that much credit.

At the same time, this book's subject scares me. I mean it completely, and totally terrifies me. Can you imagine, the total and all-encompassing internet/real-life transparency like this, going on in real life? Everyone watching your every move? Seeing what you ate and drank every day, and everything you did and said, And Then Commenting on it......? It truly makes my skin crawl. There is no way I could work for a place like the Circle, much less wear a camera around my neck at least 18 hours a day. Intrusive doesn't even begin to cover that obsessive need to watch someone's every move; or the type of horror I would feel, with this huge audience breathing down my neck.....!

And to think, having 6-9 screens to pay attention to, the whole time you're at work, and having to pay minute attention to each and every one of them, every minute...? It made me feel anxious just reading it...! I seriously don't know how the main character kept up with all the work, much less the groups, the quizzes, the surveys, the people you've never met DEMANDING attention, and, everything else....?

I think I would have to be more like the extraneous characters in this novel......the parents, who just want to be left alone......the friends, who have cut themselves off completely from her......the work friend, who couldn't stand to be around her anymore (for whatever reason).

The yawning black tear that she envisions in her stomach is something very creepy, but it makes a kind of sense. Is this her growing self-doubts, her terrible self-estemem, appearing like an expanding pit of screaming people...? The sign of her desperate need for attention, approval, and "love" from others? Or a sign of ensuing sociopathy? "Madness", is right! Great visuals with this issue, and quite scary as well.

The phrases 'Secrecy is lies', and 'privacy is theft', are all very reminiscent of the movie, "1984". Which I think they were meant to.

The people who work in The Circle seem to be brainwashed into thinking this type of society is ok. Is this the reason for picking these particular people, because they are easily swayed? So easily duped, led, and trained? I think so. Just convincing a person that having cameras EVERYWHERE is a Right, especially since it helps the handicapped see these places as well, is quite a loaded concept. Much less having everyone be able to tell, at a glance, your entire Arrest Record, just by looking at you.

The ending of this novel was a kind of let-down, even though I saw it coming from a mile away. There was no other choice the Mae character could have possibly made. She NEEDED this life too much. It was depressing, in a way. But maybe because I just cannot comprehend this type of person.

While this novel was incredibly fascinating to being with, and creepily tense in a few places, the middle was a slog to get through. Every little minute detail of every single thing this character Mae did, instead of describing how invasive this culture had become, only served to make me want to ditch the novel. I got through it, finally. This novel was no modern '1984'. Maybe you will have less trouble than I did, reading it. Good luck.
3 stars out of 5.

(For a much more coherent review, please see this link, here at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/752010315?book_show_action=true&page=1 ) ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
Van alle romans die ik dit jaar las, is De Cirkel van Dave Eggers het meest blijven na-ijlen. Niet omdat het literair het beste boek is, maar vanwege de verontrustende beelden die het oproept, beelden die na de laatste bladzijde niet langzaam wegebben, maar hinderlijk blijven doorspoken. De Cirkel is het 1984 van het internettijdperk genoemd, maar beschrijft een werkelijkheid die veel nabijer lijkt en daardoor dreigender voelt dan Orwells tijdloze boek.
added by sneuper | editde Volkskrant, Hans Bouman (Dec 18, 2013)
Even as satire, The Circle is disappointing as a novel: the plot is too easy, the prose simple, the characters flat and undistinguishable. Due to these same qualities, however, The Circle succeeds as commentary on the era of big data and transparency. The scary part is that the Silicon Valley of The Circle barely seems like a caricature. The easiest comparison of the Circle is to Google — whose Mountain View campus keeps its employees fed, fit, massaged, and, well, kept. The Circle’s mottos and mantras are the same buzzwords already posted on billboards and batted around in cafes and bars.
Some will call The Circle a “dystopia,” but there’s no sadistic slave-whipping tyranny on view in this imaginary America: indeed, much energy is expended on world betterment by its earnest denizens. Plagues are not raging, nor is the planet blowing up or even warming noticeably. Instead we are in the green and pleasant land of a satirical utopia for our times, where recycling and organics abound, people keep saying how much they like each another, and the brave new world of virtual sharing and caring breeds monsters.
Het onrecht dat in The Circle bestreden wordt, is de expansiedrift van Silicon Valley, zoveel is vanaf de eerste pagina duidelijk. En Eggers gebruikt daarvoor de meest absurde metaforen: drones uitgerust met camera’s die mensen zonder Circle-account achtervolgen en ‘ik wil gewoon vrienden worden’ scanderen, of een transparante haai die een heel aquarium leegeet. Het punt is gemaakt, Dave Eggers.
Toch verdient Eggers een like. Zijn versie van de wereld is bewust extreem: hoe het wordt als we allemaal zulke schapen worden als Mae Holland, die kritiekloos Silicon Valley achternalopen. Hij verzint een wereld die – veel maar net niet helemaal – op de onze lijkt, waarin mensen hun vrijheid inleveren, betoverd door quasifilosofische toespraken, moderne bedrijfsvoering en onbeperkt aandacht van een miljoenenpubliek. Eggers vraagt zich niet af welke wereld er is, maar welke kan komen. En zoals in The Circle heeft hij het duidelijk liever niet.
added by sneuper | editVN, Tim de Gier (Nov 5, 2013)
This potential dystopia should sound familiar. Books and tweets and blogs are already debating the issues Eggers raises: the tyranny of transparency, personhood defined as perpetual presence in social networks, our strange drive to display ourselves, the voracious information appetites of Google and Facebook, our lives under the constant surveillance of our own government.

“The Circle” adds little of substance to the debate. Eggers reframes the discussion as a fable, a tale meant to be instructive. His instructors include a Gang of 40, a Transparent Man, a shadowy figure who may be a hero or a villain, a Wise Man with a secret chamber and a smiling legion of true-believing company employees. The novel has the flavor of a comic book: light, entertaining, undemanding.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dave Eggersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biekmann, LidwienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hische, JessicaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mantovani, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mudde, BrendaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tukker, EllesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There wasn't any limit, no boundary at all, to the future. And it would be so a man wouldn't have room to store his happiness.
John Steinbeck
East of Eden
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My God, Mae thought. It's heaven.
Overnight, all comment boards became civil, all posters held accountable. The trolls, who had more or less overtaken the internet, were driven back into the darkness.
Outside the walls of the Circle, all was noise and struggle, failure and filth. But here, all had been perfected. The best people had made the best systems and the best systems had reaped funds, unlimited funds, that made possible this, the best place to work. And it was natural that it was so, Mae thought. Who else but utopians could make utopia?
"We will become all-seeing, all-knowing." The audience was standing now. The applause thundered through the room. Mae rested her head on Annie's shoulder. "All that happens will be known," Annie whispered.
Having a matrix of preferences presented as your essence, the whole you? Maybe that was it. It was some kind of mirror, but it was incomplete, distorted.
"You're always looking at me through a hundred other people's eyes."
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