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The Circle by Dave Eggers
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The Circle (2013)

by Dave Eggers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7533102,040 (3.4)10 / 196
  1. 70
    1984 by George Orwell (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Circle could easily have ended with the line, "Mae loved Big Brother."
  2. 51
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die totale Überwachung: einmal unfreiwillig, das andere Mal völlig freiwillig
  3. 20
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
  4. 21
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: Similar content and themes
  5. 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
  6. 10
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (BeckyJG)
  7. 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 (293)  Dutch (9)  German (6)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
Two totalitarian dystopias in a row. My. Oh. My.

Bend Sinister's totalitarian leadership took the form of a leader who embodies the worst qualities of Hitler and Stalin. Harsh. Very harsh. Loved ones who disappear into the night. The inability to make a living without expressing a public agreement with the rulers. And finally, well, let's just say that it takes a well-worn and realistic path given the history of the author. My heart broke for Nabokov. It also gives us an honest look at what it is to cling to ideals in the face of overwhelming power.

The Circle is also a totalitarian nightmare, but it's one that people born after 1990 would be far more comfortable with than people born before. I can't imagine it as anything that could happen within the next twenty or thirty years until the Millennials come into their full power as the Baby Boomers die off and GenXers begin to age out.

I've read the criticisms of the book and agree that the writing is more in a popular, plot-driven style. I don't agree that Mae is poorly written, however. I think she's very well written as a woman who craves attention and approval above anything else. She's not given a solid background for a reason, she's telling the story and her background isn't important to her. Only the present and the future define her. She's proud of her accomplishments, but only for a moment. She has to move on and get more approval and more attention. To do that she has to accomplish more. Nothing is good enough to stay.

When she makes poor choices, it's always fixable as long as there is approval. She's incredibly hypocritical. Even the disappearance and death of loved ones is justified because she is right and just in her cause. Mae is not a likable character. In fact, she starts out as an awful person and gets worse. None of the characters are completely sympathetic.

This is where Mae and Krug are alike, even as they are different. Krug is also a highly unlikable character. He is stubborn, crass and winds himself into inescapable knots.

Krug disagrees with the leader's philosophy and becomes a victim and Mae agrees with them, helps them and becomes a leader. Both, however, stubbornly hold on to their ideals in spite of the destruction of their lives and loved ones. Both have doubts, but they roughly shove them aside rather than compromise for the sake of the ones they love and value. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
While certainly timely in this privacy era, the story took a serious hit for me with the protagonist's actions and decisions over the course of the story -- particularly that last call, but even those leading up to that point. The character wasn't stupid, so I kept expecting her to wake up and collect herself. And anyone who's read the book knows how that turned out. ( )
  jimgysin | Mar 22, 2019 |
I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book from the perspective of one of the sheep.

By that, I mean that Mae Holland believes everything the Circle tells her hook, line, and sinker. Even when trusted people in her life challenge her to think critically about the company she works for, she rejects their ideas as stupid, ignorant, and selfish.

I was spooked by how mindlessly and willingly the characters were willing to give up their freedoms—without even realizing it.

Read the rest of my review at bigdipperbooks.com. ( )
  melissa_faith | Mar 16, 2019 |
First things first: Let’s acknowledge the irony of reviewing this book on a social media site. Check!

On the whole, this was an interesting look at the role of social media, knowledge, and obsession in modern culture. As a cautionary tale, it worked well. As a novel it was a little unbalanced, with Mae much more of a character in the first half of the book and much more an allegorical figure in the second half. It morphed from an interesting thriller to a rushed morality tale and that transition didn’t work for me. Overall, though, it was an interesting read.

Random side note: I somehow convinced myself this was the novel the film The Belko Experiment was based on and kept wondering when the Battle Royale-style action was going to start and instead got pages and pages about office life. ( )
  mediumofballpoint | Mar 4, 2019 |
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. . 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. SOFT
  JRCornell | Jan 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eggers, DaveAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
First words
My God, Mae thought. It's heaven.
Quotations
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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385351399, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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