...a world where everything we do is shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. etc. (albeit by choice).
In The Circle, Dave Eggers takes this world toward near-mandatory participation and explores the positives and the perils. As Michiko Kakutani said in her New York Times review, “Mr. Eggers reminds us how digital utopianism can lead to the datafication of our daily lives, how a belief in the wisdom of the crowd can lead to mob rule, how the embrace of “the hive mind” can lead to a diminution of the individual.”
In Mae, the protagonist “newbie” that introduces us to The Circle and serves as our guide (figuratively and, later, literally) into this supposed Utopia, Eggers has offered us a charming twenty-something whose dreams of a better life and career outside of her small hometown are met and then exceeded. As with any great character, Mae changes. Her charm and innocence vacillates as those around her are changed by The Circle. Her outlook, while in her view brightens, seems to darken and we watch, sometimes with trepidation, as she embraces what we know is going to be a poor choice. Mae even acknowledges her more frivolous poor choices from time to time, but when her poor choices are more dire, her sense of right is displaced by her sense of loyalty to this tech-conglomerate.
The story reads like a movie adaptation, paced for short scenes, darting moments, and suspense. The movie, for which I’ve no doubt there will be one, could easily be a shot-for-shot retelling of the novel.
Without giving away the end, I can only say that I was torn between disappointment and realization. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book. Eggers is a superb storyteller with his ability to pull you in and whisk you along. But as the story came to an end I wanted a more powerful resolution. But I also appreciate that this ending is Eggers point…that the ending is what it will be. You’ll have to read it to fully understand.
Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn was one of my favorite film's as a child. I remember going with my friend Beth to see the movie when it came out and being swept up, not just in the story, but also in the artwork which was so different from other animation I was used to up to that point. I just read the book for the first time, or rather, I listed to the audio version, performed by Mr. Beagle, and, while I still love the story and was again swept up in the magic of the world he created, I was left feeling somewhat disappointed. Mr. Beagle is a fine author, but as a performer he left me wanting more theatricality and that may mean returning to the physical book on my own in the near future. Obviously, it isn't that Mr. Beagle doesn't know the work or that he cannot embrace the passion and mythology of it, because he certainly can. But there was an amateur quality to it, including the intrusion of other voices piping in here and there ("Standby!") and Mr. Beagle's own slight errors that took me out of the story as he corrected himself. All of these could have been fixed in the editing, but they were left in place.
Now, I still encourage you to read it. READ it. I chose the audio version because it was more accessible to me as I was busily running to and fro, but in hindsight I should have taken the time to sit and read it. That's not to say that other audiobooks are not worth their value. On the contrary, I am a HUGE fan of audiobooks and have enjoyed MANY over the last several years. It is unfortunate that this one, one that I so looked forward to, fell short of my expectations.
But the story of the unicorn who goes in search of her kind, refusing to believe the stories that she is the last, is one of romance, mystery, magic, and loving nods to other literary sources. It is a gem that should be cherished and I look forward to reading it to my child one day, over many nights, as his or her imagination takes flight with me and we travel with the unicorn to unravel the truth and, possibly, return beauty to the world.
Loved the book when I originally read it and thoroughly enjoyed both film adaptations. This audio version is rich in atmosphere and texture. It breathes life into the foggy atmosphere of the English countryside and steals it from the depths of Eel Marsh House. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves an old-fashioned ghost story.
This wanted to be a great story... or rather, I wanted it to be a great story. Unfortunately, I was let down by the hype. The book unfolds as a history of the aftermath of a zombie plague. It's intensely political and underwhelmingly tedious. Truth be told, and this may appear unfair, I abandoned the book halfway through. I couldn't do it anymore. After some ungodly quantity of pages involving African political struggles and the advancement of very unlikable human figures I couldn't take it. Read if you love government documents and the urbane tedium of bureaucracy. Avoid if you want to engross yourself in a thrilling tale of emotionally charged relationships. I was left dissatisfied and resentful that I'd spent money on it without doing more research in advance.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.