The Circle is the exhilarating new audiobook from Dave Eggers, bestselling 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.
©2013 Dave Eggers (P)2013 Random House Audio
“Eggers's novel begins with an almost giddy tone, re-created perfectly by narrator Dion Graham. Pulling every tool from his kit, Graham describes the inner workings of the world's largest Internet company as it develops a new identity operating system that will allow even easier access by users across different platforms…But--as the listener hears in Graham's increasingly horrified tone--this Google-like utopia quickly becomes a dystopia when Mae realizes what the Circle really has in mind. Listeners will be reminded of Orwell's 1984." (AudioFile)
“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)
“Page-turning. . . . The social message of the novel is clear, but Eggers expertly weaves it into an elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st century. . . . What may be the most haunting discovery about The Circle, however, is readers’ recognition that they share the same technology-driven mentality that brings the novel’s characters to the brink of dysfunction. We too want to know everything by watching, monitoring, commenting, and interacting, and the force of Eggers’s richly allusive prose lies in his ability to expose the potential hazards of that impulse.” (Vanity Fair)
Creepiest book I've heard. Made me rethink my whole social media life and where we are going as a society.
Everyone needs to look into this book, considering the times we live in that are amok with twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc... It's disturbing how close the story resembles a likely future for us. Mae demonstrates an inevitable madness that comes with wanting to know everything and wanting to show everything to everybody. Great story and a haunting foreshadowing of reality.
Chapman was taken.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
It wasn't the idea of big brother so much as they way the story was read. Dion Graham does a superb job capturing the millennial nature of the characters. Obviously this needed the correct dialogue but I'm certain I would have missed much of the nuance if I read the print version.
Thought provoking and satisfying effort.
Especially in the current climate of totalitarianism in the US this book scared the absolute crap out of me. There's nothing in the current reality that dissuades me that couldn't and possibly will happen. I expected Eggers to take his foot off the gas and relent as the book drew to a close. He did not.
Read at your own peril. This is a book frightening in the same way that 1984 Amos other dystopian novels are frightening. It will leave you chilled and offer no easy answers.
The only thing preventing this fiction from becoming reality is the computing power and that is ever getting closer. It is a terrific realistic look at just what is behind Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all other social media. The author points out how the youth of today are so tied to devices that they could very easily WANT to give up all privacy and think "sharing is caring" and "privacy is stealing". How accurate and frightening this would be to ever come true! We'd be trading the riddance of lying scum like Hillary Clinton for a global shark that devours everything that comes in contact with it. Do I want to know things that are kept hidden as National Security? Of course I do. But if the trade off is my right to privacy, then the price is too high. I hope the upcoming movie is as close to this as possible. It should cause a very strong feeling of terror in those who know it's more possible than most might think. While at the same time others might be embracing this idea as something they want to see happen. Add to that what I believe could make for an excellent TV series starting with those after completion realize what Tyson told May...and we see a new revolution fighting against the totalitarian regime that this book showed as it's beginning and May as either it's new master or as a repentant rebel. Either way, I think the book is excellent and quite frightening.
Superb performance, but this story ends at its climax. I actually listened to the end twice because I was so confused why the author would end so suddenly. One of my least favorite purchases on audible.
Executive Director of Geeks Without Bounds. Loves fantasy and sci-fi as well as non fiction about technology and society.
The Circle is a veiled version of Google with a warning about what giving up our privacy means. It all looks so shiny, but just under the surface is a terrifying dystopia.
It's just a step away from what we have now.... The Circle asks what would happen if social media became even more pervasive and even more linked. What happens to your information, your privacy, your ability to choose? A great story and a great message.
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